Tag Archive | "probation fail"

Rev. Freed’s Slaying and the Deadly Probation Fail


One Small Detail Not Mentioned: 
Suspect Was on Probation and Shouldn’t Have Been Released From Jail 


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


The crime stats for Eureka are indeed bad.  Very bad.  
The reasons are varied and many.

The Eureka Police Department has 100 sworn employees for less than a 15-mile square area.  To note, the top 10 EPD officers make upwards of $90,000+ a year.  The Chief of Police pulled in a total compensation of $156,000 in 2010.  Eureka also has the agreed upon assistance of the HCSO, CHP, Humboldt Bay Fire, the Probation and Parole Departments, and the FBI within the city limits.

That apparently isn’t enough to take a bite out of crime in Eureka.

An overcrowded jail that releases offenders early doesn’t help matters of crime, either.  But let’s take a closer look at one situation that happened recently.

After being brought to the jail on a new offense, Gary Lee Bullock, the alleged suspect in Rev. Freed’s slaying, was released on his OR (own recognizance) only a few hours before Freed’s murder.  Unbelievably, EPD was called back and contacted him again a second time due to his erratic behavior.  Bullock was merely referred to the Rescue Mission at that time.

One of the rarely mentioned points to consider is this: Mr. Bullock was placed on a three-year probation term
back in April for cocaine possession.  Along with that grant
of probation came a set of terms which Bullock agreed to for
obeying all laws of the community– or he’d be back in  jail.

When originally brought to the jail he should have been retained on a ‘Probation Hold’ until the Humboldt County Probation Department or District Attorney’s Office—who had the  jurisdiction in the matter– properly assessed his situation.  That didn’t occur.

That’s the whole idea behind the preventative  ’community safety’ thing.  There are pre- and post release procedures in place that should have been followed for individuals granted probation.  Were they?  A process exists providing for an appropriate level of scrutiny and investigation of probationers arrested for new offenses, duly superseding jail overcrowding and holding them before subsequent release into the community.

Once Bullock’s second law enforcement contact was made, he certainly should have been returned to the jail so his situation could be looked into further by his probation officer.  He was clearly– twice– in violation of the terms of his probation in a relatively short period of time.  And yet nothing happened.

Mr. Bullock, despite his felony probation status, surprisingly wasn’t held whatsoever for his case to be reviewed.  More unbelievably, he was released out of the jail– kicked out the door and onto the street to himself without assessment or any supervision whatsoever– at 12:43 in the morning on January 1, hours before the Catholic priest’s slaying in the Eureka rectory merely a few blocks away from the jail, EPD headquarters, and directly across the street from the Probation Department’s Adult Services Division.

Bullock’s probation status and lack of supervision hasn’t been brought up nor
is it widely known to the public.  It warrants investigation because other incidents, similar in nature, have been occurring routinely.  In fact, it is quietly happening all too often following our review of several hundred crime reports over the past two years. 

Think Jason Warren’s alleged brutal murder of Dorothy Ulrich and the subsequent hit and run of the Bayside joggers.  In that instance, Warren, already sentenced to State Prison, never should have been released from the jail to freely engage in his murderous rampage upon others.

We wonder if things would have turned out differently if the ‘probation hold’ process that was in place and should have occurred actually happened, and to what degree it did in both cases.  When the system fails, it fails for all of us.

Both situations should have turned out differently.  But Probation Officers and District Attorneys don’t like to work after 5 pm, on the weekends, or on the holidays.  And the jail and courts finds it far too easy to release those in custody early as long as nothing bad ever happens.

In these cases and others, however, something bad did happen.  With deadly and dire consequences.  Oops.

We hope the Grand Jury or Superior Court will look into whether the proper probation pre-and post release procedures were actually followed in both the Gary Lee Bullock and Jason Warren cases– and to the totality of circumstances as to why they happened in the first place.

Otherwise, these situations will happen again and again with random precision, a deadly and ongoing criminal problem falling through the cracks of a complacent bureaucracy– and swept under the rug as necessary.

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As the County pleads for more jail funding and the Eureka City Council and Police Department look to increase taxes by extending Measure O (which provided $8.7 million for public safety since it was enacted in 2010), citizens may want to ask the conductors of the ‘give-us-more-money’ gravy train if we’re actually getting the services we’re already paying for.

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Crime Does Not Pay


–Most of the Time–


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Humboldt County’s Criminal Activity as Reported by Law Enforcement–


Unsupervised Probationer Steals Vet’s Car for a Wild Meth-Fueled Ride

On September 3rd, 2013 at about 9:30 pm, a local resident called the Eureka Police Department’s (EPD) dispatch center to report someone had just stolen his 2005 Chrysler Sebring convertible from the parking lot of a business on the 600 block of West Harris Street, Eureka.

The victim, a Korean War veteran, explained he’d left his vehicle running with the door open while he got out to check for a possible water leak he’d noticed under his engine.

While he was leaning over looking for the source of the leak, an unidentified white male with no shirt and multiple tattoos jumped in and drove off in his car.  The suspect was last seen driving eastbound on West Harris Street. 

EPD officers set up surveillance at several locations around the city as they searched for the stolen Sebring.  At 10:06 pm, an officer spotted the Sebring traveling southbound on Broadway near Wabash Avenue.  A high risk traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle at Glenn and West Harris Streets once additional police units were in position. 

The suspect, later identified as Michael David Podesta, 38, attempted to evade officers and a short vehicle pursuit ensued.

Podesta turned right onto Thomas from Glenn Street and continued westbound at a high rate of speed.  Upon reaching the dead end of Gross Street, he abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot toward a nearby greenbelt area.

Podesta didn’t get very far.  Pursuing officers tackled him at the head of the trail leading into the greenbelt and he was taken into custody after a brief struggle.

At the time of his arrest Podesta exhibited symptoms consistent of being under
the influence of a central nervous system stimulant such as methamphetamine. 

Podesta was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) where he was booked for auto theft, evading, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license, and violation of his Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and violation of probation.

Mr. Podesta was on formal felony probation for burglary, receiving/possessing stolen property, and possession of a controlled substance.

He was also on Post Release Community Supervision for burglary.  He was released from prison and was supposedly supervised by the Humboldt County Probation Department– which is an oxymoron in itself.

May we kindly suggest the Probation Officer spend more time supervising clients
than Facebooking friends on work time?


Thunder in the Thorns

On September 1, at approximately 12:00 midnight, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a man and woman being assaulted.  They were injured as a result of the assault and were now on the side of road at the Samoa Blvd and State Route 255 intersection in Manila.

When deputies arrived on scene they met with the victims, a 48-year old man and his 23-year old wife, both from Eureka.  

Deputies saw the male had visible bruises and cuts to his face, and swelling on his head.  The female was bleeding from the top of her head.  Medical was summoned to the scene by the deputies to treat the victims.  Both were conscious and able to speak.

The female victim told the deputies that earlier she was at the intersection of State Route 255 and Samoa Blvd in Manila when she was approached by two men.

The men accused her of stealing a wallet.  She denied stealing the wallet and the suspects left.  At approximately midnight the suspects returned and started assaulting the female and her husband in their campsite which is near the State Route 255 and Samoa Blvd intersection in the woods.

The suspects used a stun gun against her husband and beat him with a wooden cane.  She also witnessed one of the suspects point a rifle at her husband.

The suspects grabbed her purse and threw the contents all over the ground.  She screamed and the suspects struck her with the cane in the head, then left the area.

The suspects stole the victim’s wallet during the assault.  She believed they left the area in a light brown pickup truck or jeep.  Deputies also saw the female had injuries to her head and leg.  The male victim related a similar story to the deputies as to what occurred.


.357 Thwarts Eureka Peeping Tom Scoundrel

On September 2, at 3:45 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a home invasion in progress in the 300 block of Oak Street in Eureka.

When deputies arrived they met with the 29-year old female victim who was visibly upset.  The female told the deputies she was in her bedroom when she heard someone attempting to open her sliding glass door.

She walked into her kitchen and saw a white male adult wearing a black hooded sweatshirt , blue jeans and black boots attempting to force entry into her residence.  The suspect was unable to open the door because the victim had placed a dowel in the sliding mechanism.

The female victim armed herself with a .357 revolver which she brandished at the suspect who fled the scene immediately.  The victim told the deputies she had no idea who the suspect was.

Deputies checked the residence and surrounding area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. They found where the sliding glass door screen had been opened from the outside.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


A Little Alcohol and Knife Play at the ‘Ol Watering Hole

On August 31, approximately 12:10 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a stabbing victim being treated at Mad River Community Hospital Emergency Room (ER).

When a deputy arrived at the ER he met with the 32-year old male victim who resides in McKinleyville.  The deputy saw the victim had several cuts on his body and a puncture wound on his right arm.

The victim told the deputy he was at Central Station Bar, McKinleyville, at approximately 11:30 pm when he got into an argument with a Hispanic man.  He and the Hispanic man exited the bar to talk further.  When they did three other Hispanic males followed them outside.  The Hispanic male suspect and the victim got into a heated argument outside the bar.

The suspect then pepper sprayed the victim in the eyes and started stabbing the victim with a pocket knife.  

After stabbing the victim several times, the suspect fled in a blue four door “Mazda Type” sedan with dark tinted windows.  

Deputies checked the area, but did not locate the suspect or vehicle. A be-on-the-lookout was placed for the suspect and his vehicle.

The suspect is described as: Hispanic male adult, approximately 5‘8” tall, 145 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.  He was last seen wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, and white plaid shorts.  The suspect had a teardrop tattoo next to his eye area.

The victim was treated and released from the hospital.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Booty Bandit Wife-Beater Druggie Busted

On September 1st 2013, at approximately 2330 hours an officer with the Fortuna Police Department was dispatched to the National Nine Hotel for the report of a possible domestic violence restraining order violation.

The reporting party reported that William Shawn Tillman, 27, had violated a court order and was currently walking away from the hotel.

The officer located Tillman in the parking lot of Chevron and subsequently detained him for a violation of the court order.

During a search of Tillman’s person the officer located the following items:


· An unloaded firearm
· A hashish lab
· Marijuana
· Methamphetamine
· Concentrated cannabis
· Digital scales

Tillman was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail on the following violations of law;

· HS 11377(a) F
· HS 11357(a) F
· HS 11379.6 F
· PC 273.5 F 
· PC 273.6 M

During the booking process at the Humboldt County Jail, Tillman was found to have a glass methamphetamine pipe and approximately 20 grams of hashish concealed within his body cavity.   

Mr. Tillman was also charged for smuggling controlled contraband into a correctional facility.

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In The Jailhouse Now


Law and Disorder:  A Crock of Crook Reports



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Playing With Fire

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

This morning at 7:15 am, an engine from Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a reported investigation of smoke in the area at the foot of T Street in Eureka.

While enroute the engine reported a large column of smoke was visible from in the distance.  When it arrived closer to the scene, firefighters discovered a large transient camp was on fire, burning furiously out of control in the brush.

Approximately 100 feet by 75 feet wide with multiple encampments burning, an additional engine and two chief officers had to respond.  Multiple five gallon propane tanks were discovered to be burning in the area which made the blaze quite dangerous.  Firefighters pulled back out of necessity and fought the fire from a distance.

A Humboldt Bay Fireboat arrived on scene and assisted with the fire operations.  Having better access it allowed for a large volume of water to be used without putting firefighters at risk of the propane cylinders exploding.

The fire boat had the fire controlled within 10 minutes.  Firefighters using water handlines then entered the area and searched for victims, extinguishing the remaining hotspots.

Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.


One Wild and Crazy Guy Running Loose Without Probation Supervision

The difference between stupidity and brilliance is that brilliance has its limits.

n July 21 at 11:40 pm, two Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies were parked near Gipson Drive in Trinidad when they heard– and saw– a vehicle traveling northbound on Stagecoach Road squealing towards them at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle, a 2000 green Jeep Cherokee, made a turn onto Gipson Drive in front of the two deputies.

The wild and crazy driver almost lost control of the car careening across the roadway in front of them.

One of the deputies conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle for reckless driving.  The Jeep pulled off the roadway and yielded to the deputy.  When the deputy approached the Jeep, the driver revved its engine, spun its tires, and burned rubber at a high rate of speed.

The deputy initiated a pursuit and was joined by the other deputy. They pursued the Jeep westbound on Gipson Road, southbound on Stage Coach Road, and several other roads in and around Trinidad.

During the pursuit the Jeep ran through stop signs and traveled at high rates of speed until it entered onto US Highway 101.  On US 101, the Jeep reached speeds of 90 mph, until it suddenly slowed to 5 mph.  It then crossed over the highway and then began traveling the opposite direction.

 Deputies continued pursuing the Jeep as it turned into the Hidden Creek Campground where it slowed to a stop.  The driver attempted to run from the vehicle; however, the deputies were able
to catch him and take him into custody.

During his arrest, he resisted the deputies’ efforts to handcuff him. The passenger, a 27-year old female, complied with the deputies and was temporarily detained.

A search of the Jeep revealed two illegal double edged knives which were seized.  The driver, Joseph Robert Valenti, 33-years old of Eureka, was arrested for felony evasion of a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, possession of illegal weapons, possession of a syringe, and violation of probation.

Mr. Valenti was also wanted on six outstanding arrest warrants:  Two felony warrants of assaulting a police officer and the other for terrorist threats; and four misdemeanor warrants of which two were for driving under the influence, one for disturbing the peace, and one for assault and battery.

Valenti was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $190,000.   The female passenger was determined to not have committed any crimes and was released at the scene.

Curiously enough, he was arrested back in March for another wild caper and violation of probation.  He was promptly let loose to cause a little more hell raising in the community again.  We really wish these probationers would be supervised in their havoc-making ways for the protection of the community. 

We’re patient with stupidity but not with those who flaunt it.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Taser Shock and Awe Altercation in Fortuna

Some folks are a few peas short of a casserole and a couple of eggs shy of a dozen, if you get our drift.

Take this for example.

On July 21 at 5:15 in the early morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an assault with a deadly weapon and a fight in progress at the 5900 block of Rohnerville Road in Fortuna.

The Fortuna Police responded to assist and arrived before HCSO deputies.  When the Fortuna cops arrived, they located the suspect identified as Jason Passerini, 34-years old, still on the property and fighting with a male victim.  

Mr. Passerini fought with the Fortuna Police Officers until a Taser was used to subdue him.

When the HCSO deputy arrived he spoke with two victims.

The first victim, a 47-year old male residing in a nearby residence, told the deputy that at approximately 5:00 am, he was awakened by a phone call from his neighbor, the second victim, a 45-year old female.

She told him Passerini knocked on her door and then began wandering on the property which she shares with the male victim.  The male victim exited his home to look for Passerini and located him lying down near his fence line.

When he asked Passerini what he was doing, Passerini got up and threw a knife at him striking him in the chest.  The male victim was uninjured due to the angle in which the knife struck him.  Passerini then attacked the male victim with his fists, and an altercation ensured.

During the altercation Passerini attempted to poke the victim’s eyes out and bit the victim’s finger.  The female victim exited her home and saw the fight.  She came to assist her neighbor and was kicked by Passerini.

Fortuna Police then arrived and took Passerini into custody.  The HCSO deputy recovered a fixed bladed knife where the male victim said Passerini threw a knife at him.

Passerini was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting an executive officer and providing false information to a police officer.  His bail is set at $50,000.

The male victim told deputies he would be seeking medical attention for the bite on his finger.  The female victim was uninjured.

A few pecans shy of a fruitcake and a couple clowns short of a circus, he’s not exactly the brightest light on the Christmas tree– even with a Taser’s help.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about this case or
related criminal activity to call them at 445-7251 or the Crime Tip Line at 268-2539.


Another Probationer Without Supervision Found Running Amok

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.

On July 20, officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to the Super 8 motel to contact Thomas William Strader Jr., age 41, in regards to a felony level warrant for his arrest. 

Mr. Strader is currently on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) for PC 496(a) – Possession of Stolen property. 

The problem is, there is no supervision.  One is free to gloriously crash and burn being left to their own devices.

Officers contacted Strader at the motel and he was placed under arrest for the outstanding warrant. 

During a search of the motel room occupied by Strader per the terms of his probation, a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun was located. 

The handgun had been reported stolen in Eureka on 7/06/2013. 

Also located was approximatly one pound of marijuana and drug paraphernalia associated with the use of methamphetamines.

Strader was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for PC 29800(a)(1) – Felon in possession of a handgun, PC 496(a) – Possession of stolen property, H&S 11357(c) – Possession of over one ounce of marijuana and H&S 11364.1(a) – Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Unfortunately there is no rehab for stupidity.


High-Speed Car Pursuit Steals Away

On Sunday, July 21 at approximately 2:30 am, the Eureka Police Department broadcasted that a 1995 White Honda Accord had been stolen from the 1400 block of H Street in Eureka.

At approximately 4:45 am, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputy was parked at the intersection of Herrick Avenue and Elk River Road in Eureka when the Honda drove by him. 

The deputy confirmed the vehicle was stolen and attempted to stop it.

The Honda sped up and a pursuit was initiated. The Honda drove northbound into Eureka on Broadway with the deputy pursuing it, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph in a 40 mph zone.  The Honda turned onto Harris Street from Broadway and attempted to lose the pursuing deputy by making several turns onto multiple streets. 

During the pursuit, the Honda ran through several stop lights and stop signs before the Honda drove onto Q Street, which is a dead end.  The driver jumped out of the still-moving vehicle and was last seen running southeast toward Duck Street, Eureka.

The Honda came to stop with the front passenger wheel off an embankment.  The pursuit lasted approximately six minutes and covered approximately three miles.  The suspect was not located after an extensive search of the area.

The suspect is described as follows: A dark skinned male adult, 5′ 7” tall, 140 to 150 lbs, last seen wearing a yellowish tan plaid zip up hoodie style sweatshirt.

Stealing, of course, is a crime, and a very rude thing to do. But like most rude things, it’s excusable under certain circumstances.  Stealing isn’t excusable if, for instance, you decide that a certain car would be better off with you, and you simply jack it and disappear away.  But if you were very, very hungry, and you had no way of obtaining money, it would be excusable to grab the car and eat it.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Friendly Fortuna Rodeo Hosts Serious Stabbing Event

Violence is the way some dim folks try to level the playing field.

A man was stabbed in the neck Friday night, July 19, after getting into an argument with another man at the Fortuna Rodeo, officials confirmed on Saturday.  

The victim was transferred to Redwood Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Just before 9 pm on Friday, two men got into an argument in the rodeo grounds, Fortuna Police Department Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht said.

During the argument, Steven Stauffacher, 25, of Carlotta, allegedly stabbed a 49-year-old male victim, also of Carlotta, with a knife in the carotid artery and trachea, Ellebrecht said.

”I’m not sure why they got into an argument,” he said. “They did know each other.”

Stauffacher was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and transferred to the Humboldt County Pokey where he’s being held on $50,000 bail.

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When you’re in jail, a friend will be trying to bail you out.  In Humboldt, a best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, “Damn, that was fun.”

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Humboldt County Crime Stumbles Onward


Copped Crusaders KO County Knuckleheads



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Meth Dealer Busted, Brought to Jail, then Released!

Today, July 3, Problem Oriented Policing (POP) detectives and patrol officers from the Eureka Police Department served a search warrant at the 1300 block of McDonald Street in Eureka.

The search warrant service was due in part to numerous neighborhood complaints regarding suspected drug activity coming from this location.

During the service of the search warrant, detectives located approximately 2 ½ ounces of methamphetamine locked inside a small safe.

Besides the meth, digital scales, police scanner and additional items of interest were seized and booked in as evidence.

As a result of the investigation, Mark Burdick, age 45, was taken into custody for Possession of Methamphetamine for Sales.  We’re guessing the police scanner sucked and didn’t help all that much.

Mr. Burdick was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  However, due to jail overcrowding, he was cited and released, free to wheel and deal in the dealer-friendly city of Eureka for another day.

No wonder they call it Tweakervile.


Sexual Predator Nabbed

Keep it to yourself and in your pocket, mister.

On July 2, Humboldt County Sheriffs Detectives assisted by Cal Fire Law Enforcement Officers served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant and a Humboldt County Superior Court arrest warrant for an online sexual predator in the 6100 block of Purdue Drive in Eureka.

The warrants were the result of a two month long Internet investigation in which Michael Alan Brunner, 53-years old, attempted to lure a 14 year old girl from out of state to have sexual relations with her.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office detectives were notified that Brunner had contacted a citizen whom he thought was a 14-year old girl.  The girl was actually an adult and Mr. Brunner attempted to have sexual relations with her, the HCSO reported.

During the contacts with the citizen, the detectives learned Brunner had hooked up a webcam and performed sexual acts on the camera, thinking the presumed 14-year old was watching.

When Sheriff’s detectives spoke with Brunner at his residence he admitted the offenses.  Detectives arrested Brunner on an arrest warrant they had obtained for the felony crimes of sending harmful manner with the intent to seduce a minor, and contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and also a misdemeanor charge of distribution or exhibition of sexual materials to a minor.

Detectives searched Brunner’s home and seized various electronic devices which will be forensically examined for evidence.

Mr. Brunner was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the arrest warrant and with a bail set of $50,000.00.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


The Fun Police Squash Illegal Fireworks

Too much fun brings too much heat.

On July 1 at approximately 9:20 pm, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy was patrolling the area Holly Drive and Central Avenue in McKinleyville when the he saw several displays of illegal aerial fireworks coming from the area of the 1700 block of Holly Drive.

The deputy also saw an Arcata Fire Department Engine in the same area where the illegal fireworks were coming from. 

The deputy met with the Arcata Fire Captain who told him he saw the fireworks and responded to the area also.

The Fire Captain told the deputy he observed flaming debris strike a roof across from the home where the fireworks were being discharged and that some of the illegal aerial fireworks nearly struck the Arcata Fire Department Engine because they were being fired horizontally.  The Captain said he made contact with two adult males in the front yard of a residence and told them to stop discharging the fireworks.  Make it happen, Captain.

The deputy contacted a 34-year old Eureka man and a 36-year old McKinleyville man identified as shooting off the fireworks.

One of the men admitted to residing in the residence where the fireworks were being discharged from but denied trying to strike the fire engine intentionally.  The deputy found three expended illegal fireworks in the grass next to the suspects which were seized as evidence.  Making matters worse, Fire Department personnel found a neighbor’s vehicle damaged by the illegal fireworks.

No more firework fun for them.  The Sheriff’s Deputy submitted a criminal case to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office against the two unidentified men. 

They’re requesting charges of possession of fireworks not registered by the State Fire Marshall and possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit.

Both are misdemeanors subject to fines up to $1000 or county jail time of up to one year.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or wishing to squash related fun criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s
Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Lack of Probation Supervsion:  Mr. Rothwell and His Stolen Gun

Probationers without supervision lead to more criminal skullduggery.

On July 2 at 12:30 am, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling the area of Myers Flat after receiving a report of shots fired in the area.

As the deputy drove by Myers Flat Road and Highway 254 he saw two male adults.  The deputy contacted the males and learned one of the males, Travis Lee Rothwell, 28,  from Garberville, was on probation with a search clause.

The deputy detained Rothwell and asked him if he had any weapons.  Mr. Rothwell told the deputy he had a gun that was concealed in the front of his pants but it had just slipped down his pants leg.

The deputy searched Rothwell and located an unloaded Smith and Wesson Thompson Center Arms .22 caliber rifle that had been sawed off to approximately one foot in length.  A records check on the weapon revealed it was stolen.

Rothwell was arrested for possession of stolen property, carrying a concealed firearm, possessing a short barreled firearm, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation.

He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.  It is unknown whether his Probation Officer will keep him detained or if he gets immediately sprung and whether or not Mr. Rothwell will be supervised or left to his own firearm devices.

The other male was released at the scene.


Lack of Probation Supervision: Raymond Pohr and His Heroin

Probationers without supervision lead to more work for law enforcement.

On July 1 at 8:45 pm, Arcata Police Department officers conducted a probation search at the residence of an adult probationer on Eye Street.

After contacting the subject, Donald Raymond Pohr, age 71 of Arcata, a search was conducted at his residence per the terms of his probation.

During the search of Pohr’s residence, officers located a half ounce of suspected heroin.

Some of the heroin was already packaged for sale into half-gram increments, along with other items indicative of narcotics sales. 

The approximate street value of the smack was $1,100, APD said.

His Probation Officer was nowhere to be found as it went down.  APD cleaned up the matter and Mr. Pohr was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the following charges:

•H&S 11351- Possession for Sales

•PC 1203.2 – Violation of Probation


Whopping Meth Bust:  Largest Ever Made in Eureka

It’s a doozy of drugdom.

On June 28 at 12:32 pm, an officer with the Eureka Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for an observed traffic violation.  The driver had multiple identifications but didn’t have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle.

A K-9 unit from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department was summoned to the scene along with a detective from the Eureka Police Departments POP unit. 

Lo and behold!  As luck or intiuition would have it, the K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle.  Manna from heaven.

As the officers on scene went to detain the driver he struggled with them and fled on foot.  The driver was located and arrested a short distance later.  He was identified as Alain Omar Carbrera-Madrigal, 28-years old.

During the search of the vehicle, officers located a hidden compartment and seized approximately 6 ounces of methamphetamine.

Information was obtained which lead the Investigating Officer and POP Detective to an apartment on the 800 block of 8th Street in Eureka, which was rented and occupied by Carbrera-Madrigal.  Officers made contact with a female suspect at the residence who was identified as Lizabeth Cabrera-Madrigal.  She identified herself as Alain’s wife.  EPD officers secured the apartment and obtained a search warrant to search the apartment.

During the search of the apartment the astute officers located and seized a whopping 6.6 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, the largest ever such bust in Eureka.  That wasn’t all.  They also found $170,000 in cash.

Mr. Carbrera-Madrigal was arrested and booked into Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of:

  • Resisting arrest with violence
  • Transportation of methamphetamine
  • Possession of methamphetamine for sale
  • Possession of methamphetamine
  • Providing a false name
  • Driving without a license 

Not a US citizen and likely the mule in the matter, he’s being held on an Immigration Hold until being sprung back over the border.  That’s how it typically works, if you didn’t know.

Ms.  Carbrera-Madrigal was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of possession of methamphetamine for sale and maintaining a residence for the distribution of a controlled substance.

Anyone with information concerning suspected drug activity, or other nuisances occurring in the City of Eureka is encouraged to call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.

* * * * * * * *

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Monday’s Crime Reports


From Humboldt’s Law Enforcement


–As Usual, Lack of Probation Oversight Abounds–


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:  Klamath River Death Investigation

Klamath1On June 8th at 8:50 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who reported he was checking his fishing net in the Klamath River and discovered a body in the river near his nets.

Deputies responded to the scene and met with the reporting party near mile post 23.40 on State Route 169 near Martins Ferry.  The citizen told the deputy he set his fishing net out at approximately 8 pm the night before, a short distance upstream from Owl Rock.

The next morning he went to check his net and saw a Jet Ski type watercraft entangled in his net.  The citizen looked further and saw a body submerged in the water.  The citizen checked the body and saw the person was obviously deceased.  He called law enforcement to notify them of what he found.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office used a Sheriff’s Office jet boat to retrieve the deceased male.  The Coroner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.  Any further news releases, including the deceased name will be released from the Coroner’s Office.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539, the HCSO said.


Klamath2Ralph Lemmons, 63, from Weitchpec, was found in the Klamath river halfway between Weitchpec and the village of Johnson on Saturday morning.

He was found by another Weitchpec man who was checking his fishing nets, Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said. 

The man tied Lemmons to a rock so he would not drift farther down the river before officials arrived.

Lemmons entered the river alone near Old Village on Friday to ride his wave runner, Horton said.  It appears that the craft hit a rock and Lemmons tried to pull it to shore.

Officials believe he set his jacket, ice cooler, and cushion on the shore and walked back to the river to grab the wave runner, which may have drifted into deep water. It appears Lemmons fell into the water and most likely drowned, Horton said.  Lemmons’ wife told authorities that he did not know how to swim, Horton said.

The official cause of death is still being investigated, but should be available tomorrow, the Coroner said.  Alcohol or drugs are not believed to be involved.


From the Fortuna Police Department:  Convicted Felon and Probationer Arrested– and then Released !

Wade HarrisOn June 09, 2013 at about 3:50 pm, the Fortuna Police Department received a report of a male subject on a motorcycle in the area of Fortuna Boulevard and Kenmar Road that was brandishing a firearm at another motorist.

Officer responded to the area and conducted a traffic stop on the motorcyclist in the area of the Strong’s Creek Plaza Shopping Center.  The subject Wade Daniel Harris, 31, of Fortuna was detained and officers learned from witnesses that Harris may have discarded the firearm into a nearby field when he observed officers.

Officers conducted search of the field and located a loaded Kimber Semi-Automatic .45 Cal Pistol.  It was determined that the pistol had been reported stolen out of Ontario, CA.

Harris was subsequently taken into custody on the following charges:

PC 417 – Brandishing Firearm
PC 496 – Possession of Stolen Property
PC 29800 – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
PC 25850 – Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public
PC 1203.2 – Probation Violation

Harris was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Unbelievably, Mr. Harris was later released after posting bail.  We hope Harris’ Probation Officer will actually supervise him after not doing so and think twice by placing the requisite ’probation hold’ on him at the jail following his arrest by FPD until his situation can be looked at.

It’s a good thing no one was hurt by this unsupervised felon and probationer running amuck.


Another FPD Report:  Negligent Probation Mom Abandons Infant 

child abandonedOn Saturday June 8, 2013 officers with the Fortuna Police Department responded to an apartment complex located in the 100 block of 12th Street for the report of an infant that had been abandoned.

Upon arrival officers learned that a one year old infant had been left in the care of residents within the complex sometime during the afternoon hours of Thursday, June 6th.  The infant was reportedly dirty and left with little formula or personal care items.

During the three-day period the infant was reportedly passed from one apartment to another before eventually coming into the care of a thirteen-year old tenant.  The tenant phoned the Fortuna Police Department after the infant’s mother, Stefani Renee Nelson, 18, of Fortuna, had failed to return for the infant or contact anyone as to her whereabouts.

Officers attempted contact with Nelson through various means, including at last known residences, through family members and via her last known cellular phone number.  All attempts to contact Nelson were unsuccessful.

Due to the circumstances reported by the apartment tenants and in the interest of the safety of the infant, officers placed the child into protective custody.  Humboldt County Child Welfare Services was contacted and subsequently took custody of the infant.

NelsonAt approximately 8:20 pm, a Sergeant with the Fortuna Police Department observed Nelson walking near the 100 block of 12th Street.  Ms. Nelson was contacted and subsequently taken into custody for the following charges:

PC 273a(a)– Willful harm to a child
WI 777– Probation Violation

Nelson was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Jail.

Did the supervising Probation Officer even know of Ms. Nelson’s whereabouts whatsoever over the course of three and probably more days?  Thank goodness this child wasn’t hurt– and a 13-year old was smart enough to do something along with Fortuna Police and Child Welfare Services.


From the Arcata Police Department:  More Parole/Probation Supervision Failings

Alberson's goodsAn Arcata Police Department Ranger patrolling the Arcata Marsh area located a suspicious man on a bicycle at about 8:00 am this morning.

The man was contacted and identified as 40-year old Shawn Paul Alberson of Eureka.

It was determined Alberson was currently on parole for burglary.  A search of Alberson was conducted per the terms of his parole.  The ranger located a loaded .22 caliber revolver concealed down the front of Alberson’s pants.

Mr. Alberson was also found to be in possession of numerous burglary tools that included dozens of car keys, a pry bar, a slide hammer and a night vision scope.  Numerous credit and debit cards belonging to previous victims of theft were found in Alberson’s pack.

Over the past month the City of Arcata has seen a significant increase in vehicle burglaries in the parking lots in and around the Arcata Marsh.  Several people have reported seeing a man matching Alberson’s description and riding a similar bicycle in the area just before or just after the burglaries occurred.

Alberson was booked in to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges:

29800(A)(1) PC– felon in possession of a firearm
12403.7(A) PC– felon in possession on tear gas

25400(A)(2) PC– carrying a concealed weapon on a person

25850(A) PC– carrying a loaded firearm in public

466 PC– possession of burglary tools

PO jacketWill the Parole/Probation Department please start supervising their perpy peeps?  This is what they’re paid for.  Again, no one was hurt, thankfully. 

We can write these reports all day, week in and week out, and have.  The public deserves to be better served.  Crime happens– and it could happen to you.

We hope someone doesn’t get hurt.  And lawsuits do happen for negligence, you know.

* * * * * * * *

killer students

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Crime and Criminals Amongst Us


The Beat Marches On


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


A smattering of police reports:

Lack of Post-Release ‘Supervision’ for Bodhi Tree Has Its Deadly Consequences

Eureka– The Eureka Police Department named Arcata double-murder suspect Bodhi Tree as a person of interest in a recent Eureka shooting yesterday.

Eureka Police confirmed to the Times-Standard they’re looking at Mr. Tree in connection to a shooting that happened May 15th at an apartment in an alley off of “J” Street, about one block from Eureka High School.  The victim, 24-year-old Rhett August, was hospitalized after being shot in the torso.

Police say they’re not making any arrest yet, but have leads and information indicating Tree as a suspect.

BodhiEPD says they do not have the weapon that was used at the Eureka shooting.  Arcata police are still searching for the gun Tree allegedly used in the Arcata homicides.

Mr. Tree has pleaded not guilty in court for Saturday’s double homicide of Arcata High School student Christina Schwarz, 18, and Alan “Sunshine” Marcet, 28.

Humboldt County Probation Department Chief William Damiano confirmed Mr. Tree was released from state prison only a month ago and placed under post-release community supervision.

“He would have been released either way, either on parole or through (post-release community supervision) realignment,” Damiano said.

We suspect Mr. Tree failed his probation supervision agreement?  That is, if there was any community supervision to begin with.

marco poloWe have been seeing these probation fails happening all too often lately.  The problem, as we’ve seen from countless police reports read, is that the probation or parole officer is nowhere, never, or ever to be found.  Like:  Nada, Presto, and Abracadabra– and he’s gone like a rabbit down the bunny hole.

Under the prison realignment post supervision program, the County Probation Department has received oodles of cash from the State to supervise returning felonious clients.  Have they been doing so?

Supervision can and does work.  That is, if you actually do it, keeping clients on the appropriate leash of rehabilitation, drug testing, and oversight.  Not so in Mr. Tree’s case, it seems.

We hope the community and courts actually look into what the level of supervision was that Mr. Bodhi had after he was released from prison last month.  Our probation fails and the subsequent dearth of supervision are having deadly consequences lately– as in the case of Jason Warren. There have been numerous others.  The Sentinel has been reporting on these routinely during the past two years.

help catIt’s been a disturbing pattern to see.  It’s all too quietly slipped under the rug, conveniently blamed on prison realignment being the current catch-all panacea du jour, and Poof!  The problem disappears, the buck is passed, and everyone’s feet can go back on the desk for another day.

Expect this modus operandi excuse to happen again.  Repeatedly, as we’ve seen.



argumentFortuna– On Wednesday, May 22nd around 9 in the morning, officers with the Fortuna Police Department responded to the 900 block of 8th Street in Fortuna for the report of property owner/tenant dispute in an apartment.

Upon arrival officers contacted Michelle Fink, 28, and Joel Guevara both of McKinleyville within the apartment.  During the contact it was learned that Guevara was currently assigned to felony probation for narcotics related offenses in Humboldt County.

During a search of Guevara’s property officers located 121.8 grams of suspected heroin, 1.2 grams methamphetamine, 11 methadone pills, drug paraphernalia and documents consistent with the trafficking of narcotics.

Joel Guevara was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail, he was charged with the following crimes;

  • HS 11350 – Possession of a HeroinGuevara
  • HS 11379 – Possession of Methamphetamine
  • HS 11364 – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  •  PC 1203.2 – Violation of Probation

Michelle Fink was arrested and transported to the Fortuna Police Department, where she was released on a citation for the HS 11364 – Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Another probationer running amok without supervision and drug testing?  When folks are as sharp as bowling balls they need their own lane and a wide berth of gutter to fall themselves into.

* * * * * *


gas station knockoffArcata– On Thursday, May 23 at about 9:28 am, APD officers were dispatched to a robbery that had just occurred at the Patriot Gas Stationat 1675 Giuntoli Road in Arcata.

 Officers were advised the suspect had fled on foot southbound on Valley West Blvd.  Officers checked the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.

 The suspect was described as a dark-complected male adult about 5’10″ tall and 170 pounds.  The suspect was last seen wearing grey zip up jacket, a green beanie, and sunglasses.

 The suspect mentioned having a weapon, but no weapon was displayed or seen.  The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

What?  No Hot Pockets?  Obviously a pepperoni shy of a pizza and a few Doritos short of a bag upstairs.

Anybody with information on the suspect’s identity is asked to call the Arcata Police Department at #822-2248

* * * * * * *


MIA Evert




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EPD Halts Traffic Scofflaw In His Tracks


Traffic Stop Leads to Drugs, Warrant, and Arrest


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


On May 12, at about 7:30 pm, a Eureka Police Department officer on uniformed patrol saw a black 1999
Mercedes sedan
traveling westbound on the 200 block of
14th Street in Eureka. 
The officer conducted a traffic en-
forcement stop on the Mercedes
for an observed vehicle
code infraction.

The driver of the Mercedes, later identified as Steven Nicholas Upton,
yielded on the 1300 block of ‘A’ Street.

UptonUpon contacting Upton, the officer recognized him.  He recalled Mr. Upton was presently wanted for a recent felony domestic violence offense and subsequently took him into custody.

Mr. Upton is well-known by police.

During a search to his arrest, the officer located several grams of marijuana and drug use paraphernalia on Upton’s person.

Mr. Upton, unemployed, was also suspiciously found to be in possession of multiple $100 and $50 dollar bills.

Additionally, Upton’s 32-year-old male passenger was on felony probation.

Officers conducted a search of Mr. Upton’s vehicle.  Under the driver’s seat, officers found a loaded .40 caliber Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol.  A criminal history check confirmed Mr. Upton was a convicted felon– and thus prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
The young Mr. Upton, at the tender age of 23, was again arrested by EPD.  This time he was pinched for:

  • traffic stopCarrying a concealed loaded firearm in a vehicle
  • Being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
  • And being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition

He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Pokey where he was booked on the aforementioned felony offenses, in addition to the separate domestic violence charge.

We don’t know what happened to the drug charges, traffic violations, the passenger or the money.  Loitering about somewhere, we think.

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Two-Time Losers At It Again


How Many Chances Do Probationers Get When They’re Not Being Supervised?


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


On April 18 Eureka Police Department officers and detectives responded to a motel at the 4000 block of
Broadway to investigate a stolen car in the parking lot.

During their investigation, Robert Tyson (age 32), Casey Hunter (age 31) and Daniel Silva (age 28) were contacted inside one of the rooms and arrested for unrelated charges.  The motel room, registered to Tyson and Hunter, was searched as a result of Tyson’s probation terms.

The search yielded a stolen laptop computer, 191.5 grams of Marijuana, 25.7 grams of Hashish, 32.4 grams of Heroin, 63 grams of Methamphetamine, and various prescription pills.  Also collected were numerous laptop computers and other electronic items, suspected of being stolen property.

Mr. Tyson was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale, Possession of Concentrated Cannabis for Sales, Possession of Heroin and Prescription Medication for Sales, Possession of Stolen Property, and an outstanding warrant.

Ms. Hunter was arrested for Possession of Stolen Property and an outstanding warrant.

Mr. Silva was arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant.

All three subjects were transported and booked into the Humboldt County Jail.

The stolen vehicle, which originated the investigation was recovered and towed to a local tow yard.


stupid people aheadBut this isn’t Mr. Tyson and Ms. Hunter’s first time around the criminal drug block.  They were popped only six months ago– under similar circumstances– at the Royal Inn in Eureka.  Here’s what happened back then:

On 11-26-2012 at about 1000 hours the Humboldt County Drug Task Force conducted a probation search at a motel room located at the Royal Inn on 5th Street, Eureka.  Agents contacted three subjects in the motel room, who they identified as:

  • Casey Marie Hunter, age 31
  • Robert Eric Tyson, age 31
  • And Steven Michael Ridley, age 27.

When Agents searched the motel room they located about 50 Vicodin pills that Agents learned were being sold at $2.00 dollars a pill, 3 pounds of marijuana, ½ of an ounce of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine smoking pipe and a loaded .22 caliber revolver.

Agents arrested Robert Tyson for being armed in commission of a felony, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession of Vicodin for sales, possession of marijuana for sales and for violation of probation.  Mr. Tyson was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and his bail was set at $ 50,000 dollars.

Agents arrested Steven Ridley for an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest for a narcotic violation, for possession of methamphetamine, for violation of probation and for possession of a methamphetamine smoking pipe.  Mr. Ridley was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and is currently being held without bail, because of his outstanding arrest warrant.

Agents arrested Casey Hunter for possession of a methamphetamine smoking pipe.  Ms. Hunter was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked and released on her promise to appear in court.

This case is still under investigation by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force.

* * * * * * *

loservilleOnce again we ask the question:  how many chances does one get flaunting their probation?  Where were the Probation Officers providing court-ordered supervision for their drug-addled felons?

It’s both a shame and a crime when the Eureka Police Department and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office have to come along and clean up these messes when the Probation Department is either unwilling or unable to do so.  The Sentinel has reported this happening repeatedly and we’ve given example after example showing this to be the case, yet the non-supervision problem continues unabated.

Perhaps someone needs to wake up from their desk and start doing the job they’re supposed to do.  It’s no wonder EPD leaves out the Probation Department while giving the following advice for citizens:

Anyone with information concerning suspected drug activity, or other nuisances occurring in the City of Eureka is encouraged to call EPD’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.

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‘Droopy’ Goes Down. Again


–And Jonas Semore, Too.  Again.


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


We hope someone gets the memo.

On April 3rd, just around lunch time, a Eureka Police
Department officer on uniformed patrol observed a suspicious vehicle up to no good stopped in an alley between O and P streets, and north of the 1400 block of 6th Street, in Eureka.

The officer saw a female suddenly exit the 4-door sedan and quickly walk into the fenced backyard of a nearby known drug house.  It appeared the female was attempting to avoid contact with the officer, EPD said in their release.

The officer approached the vehicle and contacted the driver whom he immediately recognized as 40-year-old Jonas Randall Semore of Eureka.  The officer knew Semore to be on felony searchable probation for possession of a controlled substance for sale and also a documented local gang member.


Mr. Campbell

The officer then recognized Semore’s rear passenger as Scott Ryan Campbell, age 36, of Eureka. Campbell was also on searchable probation and a documented local gang member going by the moniker of ‘Droopy’.

Officers detained both subjects.  A records check on Campbell revealed a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest for possession of drug use paraphernalia.  During a subsequent search of Campbell pursuant to his probation terms, officers located a large baggy of crystal methamphetamine (approximately 17 ½ grams or over ½ ounce).  Droopy went down, getting busted again.

Semore’s driver’s license was confirmed suspended for DUI. Officers also found Semore to be in possession of $4,590 cash although he is unemployed.  The cash was seized as suspected drug sales proceeds due to the circumstances and additional evidence uncovered at the scene.


Mr. Semore

Mr. Campbell was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on his warrant and for fresh charges of possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale and probation violation.

Mr. Semore was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was busted for driving with a suspended license and probation violation.  Again.

Mr. Semore got popped only a month ago with 18 pounds of weed.  Even though he was on felony probation at the time and in violation of his terms, Semore was let out of jail in short order.

Officers found items in the suspects’ car identifying the female passenger who walked away as Dawn Shonea McElroy, age 23, of Eureka.  Records checked revealed McElroy has a felony warrant for her arrest, but alas, like a little bird that’s flown, she got away.

She remains outstanding as of the time of this report, EPD noted.  Well, there’s always tomorrow.

We beg the question in regards to Mr. Campbell and Mr. Semore:  Both are on probation, both are well-known to law enforcement, and both are gangbanging felons with lengthy histories.

Both were recently busted and then released by a too-permissive District Attorney and judge.  Both supposedly were under supervision by their local probation officers with drug and search clauses.

AWOL2 JPEGOur question?  If they’re going to be released into the wild blue yonder, why aren’t they being supervised appropriately under their court-ordered conditions at the very least?

In what’s becoming the new normal lately, the Sentinel has uncovered more than two dozen examples of this very same AWOL behavior happening repeatedly– again and again– in the past year.

We hope someone at the office wakes up and gets the memo to do their job.

The good news?  They didn’t kill anyone like Jason Warren allegedly did when he, too,  was prematurely sprung without supervision.

* * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

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Mr. Sleepy Awakened by EPD


EPD Provides Supervision and Arrest for Parolee


Nodding Off With Cash and Heroin in Hand, Parole Agent AWOL


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


heroin fixOn Sunday at about 4:19 p.m., officers with the Eureka Police Department (EPD) were dispatched to the 2800 block of ‘F’ Street on the report of a suspicious male in a vehicle.  A witness reported a male subject had been sitting inside a parked vehicle for the past half hour in Henderson Center.

The male was reported to be “making strange movements” and appeared to be falling asleep …or more likely passing out.  Per the witness, a roll of cash was also visible in his lap.

An officer arrived on scene a short time later and approached the male, who was seated in the driver’s seat of a 4-door Nissan Maxima parked on the street in front of a business.

The officer observed that the male, later identified as Canyon Hodge, was slumped over and appeared to be asleep.  The officer also saw what appeared to be a large baggy of tar heroin in Hodge’s lap and a big roll of cash next to him on the passenger seat.

The officer recognized Hodge and knew he had a felony warrant for his arrest.

The officer roused Hodge with some difficulty and took him into custody on his warrant.

During a subsequent search of Hodge and his vehicle, the officer located approximately:

  • 43 grams of tar heroin (1 ½ ounces)
  • 3 1/2 grams of crystal methamphetamine
  • (1/8th ounce)A small quantity of processed marijuana
  • A digital gram scaleWritten records indicating recent heroin sales activity
  • $3,042.00 cash
  • Drug use paraphernalia

stressedMr. Sleepy,” appeared to be heavily under the influence of heroin and nodding off due to his partaking liberally of his own product, EPD said 

The cash was seized as suspected illicit drug sales proceeds to be turned over to the Humboldt County Drug Task Force for future asset forfeiture proceedings.

In addition to his warrant (alleging possession of a controlled substance), Hodge was arrested for:

  • Possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Parole violation

heron cardHe was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional facility for booking.  Hodge’s vehicle was also towed from the scene.

Mr. Hodge is well-known by law enforcement.

His parole officer was also undoubtedly woken up as well.  The PO was notified of his client’s pending failure, lack of supervision and drug testing, and ongoing criminal drug activity by EPD who cleaned up yet another mess for probation/parole officers sleeping at their desks.

* * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)




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A Life of Drugs and Crime and in Humboldt


Multiple Busts in Arcata and Eureka Over Several Days


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



On Wednesday, 2/20/2013, police officers from the Arcata
Police Department conducted a probation search of a
motel room at Motel 6 on Valley West Blvd.   The person
registered to the room was Barton Gonzalez, age 25.

Gonzalez, who is on felony searchable probation, was also wanted on a felony charge for forgery.

Officers knocked on the motel room door and observed several subjects inside the room when Gonzalez answered the door. Upon identifying the persons in the room, the officers learned that one subject, Benjamin Crowder, age 32, had an outstanding felony warrant for a parole violation.

Both Gonzalez and Crowder were arrested on the outstanding felony warrants.

A third subject, Kevin Casey, age 29, was found to be in possession of prescription medication not prescribed to him, heroin, packaging for the sale of heroin and $4200 in cash.  Casey was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of heroin for sales. 

All three subjects– Gonzalez, Crowder, and Casey– were booked into the Humboldt County Jail on their related charges.

* * * * * * *


JohnsonOn Tuesday, 02/19/13, detectives from the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) contacted Michael Gordon Johnson, age 53, in the 2500 block of ‘C’ Street.  During a search of Johnson, who is on active parole, officers discovered 38.7 grams, or approximately 1.4 ounces of heroin on his person.   

Johnson was taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional facility for possession of heroin.

* * * * * * *


GarciaHardyOn Monday, 02/18/13, detectives from the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP), responded to an apartment complex in the 1600 block of ‘C’ Street to investigate alleged narcotic activity.

As a result of their investigation, Tessa Lynn Garcia, age 22, was taken into custody for Maintaining a Residence for Narcotic Activity and Probation Violations.


Daniel Scott Hardy, age 24, was also taken into custody in the same apartment for Possession of Burglary Tools and Probation Violations.

* * * * * * *


On Monday, 02/18/13, detectives with the Eureka Police Department’s
ortizProblem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) conducted a narcotics enforcement at an apartment complex in the 800 block of ‘H’ Street.

During their investigation, detective’s contacted Joel Renaldo Ortiz, age 32, in the alley at the north side of the complex.

Ortiz, who is on probation several times over, displayed symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance.  During a search of Ortiz, officers discovered a syringe and 12.9 grams, or approximately ½ ounce, of Methamphetamine in his sock.   

Ortiz was taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional facility for Possession of Methamphetamine and Probation Violations.

* * * * * * *

big nose judgeAnyone with information concerning suspected drug activity, or other nuisances occurring in the City of Eureka is encouraged to call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.

In the City of Arcata, call the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.

In the County of Humboldt, call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7521.


* * * * * * *

AWOLWhat do the the above multiple busts have in common?  Heroin and meth?

No.  Their Parole and Probation Officers were AWOL– and nowhere to be found assisting law enforcement.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)







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Racist Trio Assault Women and Boy in Ferndale


–Riverbar Fun Goes Sour–


Authorities Seek Felon Curtis Flowers After He Flees Hospital



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Remember when riverbar parties and bonfires involved
hanging out, playing guitars, roasting marshmallows–
and not beating the crap out of people?

From the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

bonfire2On Sunday, February 17 at approximately 1:00 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a citizen who reported three males were at a large party in the area of East Ferry Road in Ferndale and were assaulting several people.

Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol officers, and Ferndale Police responded to the scene.  While deputies were enroute they were advised the three male suspects were attempting to leave the area in a dark colored KIA Rio.

A Ferndale Police Officer spotted the Kia SUV near
Fernbridge and stopped it.  Deputies and CHP officers
joined the Ferndale Officer and detained the three males
who were in the vehicle.

bridgeThe officers saw the occupants had fresh injuries to them.  They also showed signs of alcohol intoxication.  The officers could also see open alcoholic containers in the vehicle.

The three subjects were identified as:

  • Douglas Wayne Flowers, 43-years-old, and from Fortuna;
  • Curtis Flowers, 22-years-old, from Fortuna;
  • Christopher James Hanly, 23-years-old, from McKinleyville

All three men were were detained.  To note, Douglas Flowers is the father of Curtis Flowers; Curtis was the driver of the KIA Rio.  Medical personnel were requested to respond to the scene and treat them for their injuries.

Deputies then contacted witness and the victims.

They were told by the witness and victims that the Flowers and Hanly showed up at the party on the Ferndale River bar intoxicated.

The suspects shouted “White Pride”, as they walked around through
the crowd.  They were asked to calm down by party attendees; Curtis
Flowers started pushing people and challenging them to fight.

bonfire3An 18-year-old female attempted to leave the party in a Toyota Pickup truck
because of Curtis Flowers’ behavior.  As she got into the truck, Curtis Flowers
walked up to the truck and swung the truck door open.  In doing so, the door struck another 18-year-old female who was watching what was occurring and standing near the pickup truck.

When the female who was struck by the door made a comment about being struck by the door to Curtis Flowers, he punched her in the face with a closed fist.  When the injured female got back up, Douglas Flowers punched her in the face knocking her back to the ground.  The female immediately fell to the
ground a second time.

Meantime, the female who had been in the truck exited the truck to assist the assaulted and injured female.  She was punched in the face, too, which knocked her to the ground and unconscious.

A 16-year-old male was close by and came to both females’ aid.  He was was punched in the eye by Curtis Flowers.  Then all three suspects– Curtis Flowers, Douglas Flowers and Christopher Hanly– began punching him in the face after knocking him to the ground.

Deputies could see the 16-year-old’s eye was swollen almost shut.  One of the 18-year-old females received a broken jaw which required surgery at a local hospital.  The other female refused medical attention.

Curtis Flowers

Curtis Flowers

Curtis Flowers was transported by ambulance and admitted to Redwood Memorial Hospital for a cut on his neck; however he fled from the hospital the same day, February 17, at around 5:00 p.m.

Fortuna Police checked the area for him but were unable to locate him.  A ‘Be-on-The-Lookout’ was broadcast to local law enforcement for his apprehension.  Curtis Flowers is on State Parole for a conviction of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.  Now, he’s wanted for:

  • Assault Causing Great Bodily Injury
  • Driving under the Influence
  • Assault and Battery
  • Violation of Parole

Douglas Flowers and Christopher Hanly were both arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Douglas Flowers was booked for Assault Causing Great Bodily Injury and Public Intoxication.  His bail was set at $50,000.00.

stoopidMr. Hanly was booked for Assault, Probation Violation, and Public Intoxication.  For reasons we don’t fully understand given his probation status, he was surprisingly released on his own recognizance in spite of his apparent stupidity.

The Sheriff’s Office will be increasing patrols in the Eel River area for the foreseeable future to help curtail parties and other criminal activity.

We can only hope Probation and Parole Agents can supervise their clients as well.


Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251, or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539, the HCSO said.

Posted in Crime, Eel River Valley, LocalComments (2)

EPD Hot on the Trail of KIEM-TV Burglary Suspect


Camera Recovered; Search for Parolee Edward Vercoe Continues


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


On the afternoon of January 28, detectives from the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP)
responded to a neighborhood complaint in the 2500 block
of Union Street in Eureka.

The complaint alleged excessive foot and vehicle traffic coming from an apartment located in the alley.

Detectives contacted a female living in the apartment, who advised them one of the subjects living with her was Edward Charles Vercoe (Date of Birth: 12/28/69).  Vercoe is in on active PRCS Parole and is subject to search and seizure at anytime.

vercoeDuring a subsequent search, detectives located ½ gram of heroin and a Sony HD video camera they believed was related to a weekend burglary of News Channel 3.

Employees from Channel 3 were contacted and responded to the scene where they positively identified the Sony camera and related cables.  The employees from Channel 3 stated there are additional cameras and equipment outstanding.

Vercoe was not on scene at the time the search was conducted and is currently wanted for being in Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Stolen Property.

Anyone with information regarding Vercoe’s whereabouts can contact the Eureka Police Department, at (707) 441-4060, or call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373, EPD said.

* * * * * *

Another parolee/probationer on the loose without supervision or drug testing.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, EurekaComments (0)

EPD Nabs Ferndale Man and His Stolen Truck


Dual Probationer/Parolee Running Amok Without Supervision… Again


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


On Jaunary 21 at about 2:10 p.m., a Eureka Police Department patrol officer was conducting a probation search at a troublesome residence for complaints of
stolen property and drug activity located on the 100 block
of West Henderson Street in Eureka.

As the officer was searching a rear bedroom in the residence, he heard a knock on the back door.  The officer walked to the door and opened it. As he opened the door, he recognized the male subject standing there as David Scott Fournier.

FournierThe officer had arrested Fournier on two prior occasions for possession of a stolen vehicle.  Fournier was on active CDC parole for receiving/possessing stolen property.  He was also currently on formal felony probation for possession of a controlled substance.

Upon further investigation, the officer discovered Fournier had driven to the residence in a small 1984 blue Toyota pick-up truck which was parked along the street just south of the house.  A check of the truck’s license plate revealed it had been reported stolen out of Arcata on December 17.

Fournier claimed he bought the truck for $250.00.

The officer, however, noted the truck’s steering column had been
dismantled, exposing the wires to the ignition.

Fournier (age 48, of Ferndale) was arrested by the officer and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, and parole violation.

* * * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)


Posted in Crime, LocalComments (0)

Probationer Tasered and Subdued with Citizens’ Help


Tweaker Nearly Turns Tables on Arresting Officers


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Today, December 14, at approximately 7:30 a.m., HCSO deputies were conducting a traffic accident report in Blue Lake when they were alerted by a citizen about a vehicle
driving erratically on Taylor Avenue in Blue Lake.

The deputies located the vehicle on Taylor Avenue as the driver was walking away from it.  A deputy contacted the driver who was identified as Daniel Christie, 36-years-old, from McKinleyville.  The deputy ran a warrant check on Christie which revealed he was on probation with a search clause.

The deputy told Christie he was going to conduct a probation search.  Christie initially complied, but then changed his mind and ran off.  Both deputies pursued Christie and a struggle ensued.  The deputies utilized a Taser on Christie which had little effect; he continued to fight with them.

Christie was able to grab the Taser and struggled with the deputies over control of it.  Two citizens witnessed the deputies struggling with Christie and came to the deputies’ aid.  The citizens were able to assist the deputies with controlling, and handcuffing, Christie.

Christie admitted to the deputies that he had used methamphetamine– and that’s why he ran from them.

Christie was taken into custody for

  • Resisting arrest
  • Threatening a public official
  • Possession of burglary tools
  • Probation violation

Mr. Christie was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.

* * * * * * * *

Yet another probationer running amok without supervision and testing?

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in Crime, LocalComments (0)

Gambling with Strangers


Drinking Deal Goes From Bad to Worse


–Probationers Without Supervision are a Bad Gambit–


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel


Kidnapping, assault, robbery, and what likely could have been
murder occurred Friday by probationers running wild and loose
in the community again.

On November 16, at approximately 11:20 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Blue Lake Casino Security regarding a possible armed robbery that had occurred to one of their customers.

When a deputy arrived they met with 24-year-old male victim, who resides in the Garberville area.  The victim told the deputies he was at the Blue Lake Casino at approximately 6:00 in the morning gambling, when the two suspects approached and sat down on gambling machines on either side of him.  The suspects began talking with him and acted like they knew him.

During their conversation, they offered him alcohol at their vehicle outside the casino, since the casino was not serving alcohol at that time of the morning.  The victim agreed to go outside with them to have a drink after he cashed out his winnings.  The suspects agreed to meet him outside.

When the victim exited the casino, one of the suspects, along with a third suspect, were standing by the front door.  A small red newer four-door vehicle pulled up when he exited the Casino.  The victim got into the front seat of the car and the two males got in the back seat.  One of the males he met at the casino was driving the car;  one of the males he met was now in the back seat along with a third male he just met.

The driver, later identified as suspect Donald Lester, told the victim the Casino had cameras in the parking lot so they had to leave so they would not get into trouble drinking there. He suggested they drive to Cher-Ae Heights Casino to see what was going on up there. The victim agreed and thought that was a good idea. The suspects told the victim they would bring him back to Blue Lake Casino.

When they arrived in the Westhaven area, the suspects exited US 101 and pulled off the road of Scenic Drive.  The driver, Lester, parked the car, got out of the vehicle, walked around it, and opened the passenger side door.

Lester shoved a semi-automatic handgun into the victim’s mouth, while the victim was still seated.

Meantime, the suspect seated behind the victim began beating him in the throat while repeatedly telling him to empty his pockets.

The suspects then yanked the victim out of the vehicle and threw him on the ground.  The suspects made the victim remove all his clothing other than his underwear, while pointing the handgun at him.  They then told him to walk to the nearby cliffs.  The suspects ordered the victim not to look at them while doing so. The victim was convinced the suspects were going to kill him, so he made a run for it.

The victim escaped and hid in the area until he believed the suspects were gone.  The victim then walked back up the trail, found some articles of his clothing, and then contacted a citizen parked in a nearby parking lot.  The citizen gave the victim a ride back to Blue Lake Casino where the victim notified Casino Security and met with Sheriff’s deputies. The victim declined medical attention, but was visibly distraught when speaking with the deputies.

Blue Lake Casino Security assisted the Sheriff’s Office with identifying the suspect vehicle and license plate utilizing their security system.  Deputies and a detective located the vehicle parked in the 4400 Block of Excelsior Road, Eureka.

Deputies then located two of the suspects at a residence in the 4400 block of Excelsior Road. They were Donald Lee Lester, 27-years-old, from Arcata, and Zachary Michael Davis, 25-years-old from Fields Landing.   Mr. Lester, to note, was located by the deputies hiding in the attic of the residence. 

Deputies conducted a probation search on the residence and located some of the victim’s stolen property along with:

  • A black semi-auto handgun marked Smith and Wesson that shot simulated ammunition
  • 23 grams of Tar Heroin
  • 7 grams of suspected methamphetamine
  • Syringes, packaging material, and 19 grams of dried marijuana.

Mr. Lester was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of:

  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Assault With a Deadly Weapon other than a firearm
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Accessory to a Crime
  • Possession of an Illicit Drug
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession of Stolen Property

Mr. Lester was additionally booked on six outstanding arrest warrants; one for felony possession and transportation of a controlled substance and marijuana, and five warrants for violation of probation. He is being held without bail.

Mr. Davis was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of:

  • Robbery
  • Violation of Probation
  • Accessory to a Crime
  • Possession of an Illicit Drug
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault With a Deadly Weapon other than a firearm
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Stolen Property

The Sheriffs Office is still seeking a third suspect in this case.  That suspect is described as a black male adult, 20’s to 30’s, between 6-0 to 6-2 in height, muscular, wearing a hat, close cut hair and a scruffy beard.  That suspect spoke in “Gangster Style” per the victim.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

* * * * * * * *

Mr. Lester and Mr. Davis are both oh-so-familiar names in criminal mayhem stretching back many years.  And, once again, probationers were left without oversight or supervision by Probation Officers until another agency came along to clean up the mess after contacting yet another victim.

This has become an oh-so-familiar pattern for scoundrels du jour and we could write these reports all dayWe’ve come to find out that while a magistrate may order terms of supervised probation, there’s no guarantee any probationer will actually receive it– and you’ll never hear of it whatsoever unless you read between the lines of these reports, as we do.

Thank God these two didn’t kill someone running amok.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

Posted in CrimeComments (2)

Bike Spree and Flee Fail

Pursued by Deputy, Bicyclist Totally Biffs It


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel


Early this morning, a Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy was driving his marked patrol car on Harrison Avenue towards Harris Street in Eureka when he saw an adult male riding a bicycle.  The bicyclist exited the Walgreens parking lot onto Harrison Avenue and was carrying something
under his arm.

Because the male appeared ‘suspicious’ in his behavior, the deputy turned his patrol car around to check out what was going on and what he was carrying.

The chase was on.

Seeing the deputy turn his patrol car around, the male started riding away faster.  He furiously pedaled his two-wheeled velocipede; cutting across traffic, failing to signal, and, the HCSO reported, violating the vehicle code.  Now this was very suspicious.

The deputy attempted to stop the male by activating his emergency lights.  The now-fleeing male ignored the lights and deputy and rode his bike quicker, as fast as his two little feet would go, trying some fancy ’evasive’ maneuvers.   The deputy activated his siren but that didn’t work either.  Go figure.

He pursued the dodgy bicyclist in and out of different business parking lots, lights and siren blazing.   The deputy saw the bicyclist dump what he was carrying on the ground– and ride behind the Blood Bank on Harrison Avenue to avoid him.

The officer’s vehicle, however, was faster than the pedal-pushing evader.

The deputy met the bicyclist on the other side of the Blood Bank property.   The bicyclist tried to ride over a curb, but met with a total bike fail.  Squarely hitting the curb, he royally dumped it.  Rudely thrown over the top of his handle bars like an ejected pilot, he landed abruptly into the nearby bushes like a worn out shoe.  The wheels of his unsteady steed were ignobly left spinning.

The deputy took the bicyclist into custody.  The bicyclist was identified as Thomas Smith, 40-years-old, from Eureka, and on probation.  Curiously enough, he was only three blocks from the Probation
Department when he began his footloose and fancy-free bike spree.

Smith was uninjured as the cushy bushes broke his fall.  The deputy recovered the mysterious bag Smith had thrown during the pursuit.  What was in it?  Guess.

The bag was filled with marijuana bud, estimated to be one pound of the obnoxiously troublesome weed.

Mr. Smith was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for possession for sale and transportation of marijuana, and violation of probation.   Bail was set at $25,000.

It wasn’t reported whether he was wearing his bicycle helmet or not.

His bike had failed, his weed was seized, his unhappy mugshot was taken, and an otherwise pleasant day was ruined.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)



Posted in Crime, EurekaComments (0)

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