SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — They never should have been in America to begin with.

That was the message Thursday night from U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott in a press conference where he announced that two Mexican nationals have been charged in the slaying of a Northern California sheriff’s deputy.

And in a state typically known for dancing around the words “illegal alien”, they sure pulled no punches Thursday.

El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said federal charges were filed Thursday afternoon against the four men arrested in connection to the death of El Dorado County Deputy Brian Ishmael.

brian_ishmael_killed

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday. (EDCSO)

Deputy Ishmael was shot and killed at an illegal marijuana grow in Somerset on October 23.  

Here’s a bit of the back story.

With the legalization of marijuana in California, the state has run into more evolved problems with their efforts to be “progressive” in their legislation the past decade. That legalization has lead to the black market being flooded with marijuana in an effort to usurp the market and undercut regulated pricing for legal substances.

That’s what brought us to the murder of Deputy Ishmael.

According to officials, the property owner, 47-year-old Christopher Ross, called police and said someone was stealing plants from his pot garden in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento.

What he didn’t tell the, according to police, was that he was in business with the other suspects.

According to prosecutors, 20-year-old Juan Carlos Vasquez Orozco shot Ishmael when the deputy ordered everyone to come out of the garden.

El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini had no issue describing the two men indicted as “illegal aliens”, but most outlets would prefer the term “Mexican nationals who are in this country illegally”.

Here at Law Enforcement Today, we’re going to err more on the side of Sheriff John D’Agostini verbiage.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a four-count indictment against Christopher Ross, Juan Carlos Vasquez-Orozco, Ramiro Bravo Morales, and Jorge Lamas. Considering that the entire chain of events unfolded with regard to the Deputy finding himself at the illegal growing operation in California, all four in the case were charged with conspiracy to grow marijuana.

However, a handful of those indicted would wind up receiving charges that tote sentences quite heavier than growing marijuana where you shouldn’t. Vasquez and Morales were amidst the pack of receiving heavier charges, as they were are also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm;

Vasquez, as well as Ross, are both being charged with the murder of Deputy Brian Ishmael. Morales is also being charged with knowing Vasquez-Orozco committed murder, but attempted to help him try and avoid arrest despite his actions.

Officials at Thursday’s news conference had strong words about the growing problem of illegal marijuana grows in California.

“I ask that you, the media, please call this what this is. Don’t soften it. This tragedy was due to an illegal alien tending an illegal marijuana garden, who murdered my deputy,” El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said.

Aside from the federal based charges, the men are also going to be facing state charges as well with regard to the alleged crimes and chain of events. Needless to say, if convicted, they’ll have a plethora of time to ponder their actions.

According to the federal prosecutor, the penalty for the marijuana counts is a five-year minimum prison sentence, with up to 40 years in prison. That’s also in tow with fines up to $5 million for the growing operation offences.

The discharge of a firearm during a drug crime is a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, with up to natural life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The alien in possession of a firearm count is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

We’re hoping justice is served in this case and that Deputy Brian Ishmael is honored properly after his life was taken so needlessly.

In the meantime, in another part of California, we have officials refusing to talk about whether or not two inmates who escaped prison, snuck out of the U.S. then got caught sneaking BACK into the U.S. were here legally to begin with.

It’s not often that you see people trying to sneak across the border INTO Mexico.  But it appears that was the case with two inmates who escaped prison earlier this week.  But here’s where it gets interesting.

Two wanted individuals were caught by Customs and Border Protection this week… when they were trying to reenter the United States via the Tijuana port of entry after recently escaping from a California jail. The two individuals were both in jail, awaiting trial for charges of murder for the both of them.

The two murder suspects, Jonathan Salazar and Santos Fonseca , had escaped from a California jail over the weekend this past Sunday and were arrested by federal officials while trying to enter the United States from Mexico, authorities had said.

The motivation behind exiting the coutry after their jail and then an attempt to reenter hasn’t been disclosed yet as of this time.

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Captain John Thornburg had stated that Jonathan Salazar, 20, and Santos Fonseca, 21, were arrested by Customs and Border Protection officials at a port of entry at Tijuana just after midnight on November 7, 2019 while they were opting to simply walk through the border’s port of entry.

Captain John Thornburg had mentioned that the two are currently in the custody of Monterey County officials and are on their way back to a jail in Salinas, hundreds of miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. This being the jail that the pair had also previously escaped from just earlier this month.

Like something straight out of the classic film “Escape from Alcatraz”, Salazar and Fonseca had escaped Sunday from the Monterey County jail in Salinas after climbing through a hole they made in the ceiling of a bathroom, narrowly squeezing through a hollow wall and kicking open a hatch as a means to aid in their efforts to attain freedom.

Thornburg said authorities had received a tip that the pair, both born and raised in California, had been spotted in the Mexican border city of Tijuana and had alerted federal officials once becoming privy to the potential whereabouts of the two escaped inmates.

While local authorities were following leads to expedite the retrieval of the two escapees, a tip had come in reporting that Salazar had been possibly spotted at a motel in Marina about 10 miles from the Marin County jail in Salinas.

Fox News reported that on Tuesday, deputies responded to a Motel 6 in the town of Marina around 11:30 a.m.

Law enforcement officers were tipped off when “an employee [of the motel] reported that 20-year-old Jonathan Salazar was hiding out in the building.”

salazar_manhunt_escaped_swat

He escaped from prison. Now he’s on the run again after dodging a SWAT raid on his hotel hideout.

At the time of the arrival to the motel, there was no response from the room that Salazar was thought to be in. The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office reported in a statement that, “after about eight hours of trying to make contact with the escapee believed inside a Motel 6 in the town of Marina, police SWAT deployed a flash grenade and raided what turned out to be an empty motel room.”

After the raid, Capt. John Thornburg of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said they concluded that while he might’ve been there, he had escaped justice yet again.

Officers “searched the room and he is not here.  I’m confident nobody left the motel after we got here, so that time between them calling and us getting here he apparently did leave.” 

“We have a strong belief that he was here, OK, from the witness or the person that called, the interviews we conducted,” he said. “It’s disappointing. I mean, we’ve been out here for hours, and, you know, people are waiting and we’re trying to do everything we can to locate this person along with the other gentleman and take him into custody.”

It is reported that police evacuated both the hotel and a nearby restaurant while securing the area around the motel.  Officers called out over a loudspeaker demanding that Salazar exit the room if he was inside, using both English and Spanish in hopes to communicate completely with the suspect.

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SWAT arrived on scene at 6 p.m., with the flash bang grenade being deployed around 7 p.m., followed by the raid and search of the room.  Police K9s were brought in to search the rest of the motel for Salazar.  

Earlier this week, we reported on the escape of Salazar and fellow inmate Santos Fonseca, both being held on murder charges, from the California jail.

Police called Salazar and Forenseca “extremely dangerous” murder suspects.

Two murder suspects escape jail - third inmate who tried to kill police also on run

 

According to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, they escaped from the Adult Detention Facility in the early morning, unannounced.

They are both five-feet-seven-inches tall with black hair and brown eyes.  Fonseca weighs 150 pounds and Salazar weighs 170 pounds.

They’ve been in jail since 2018, where they were awaiting trial on unrelated murder counts “along with numerous other felony charges,” a sheriff’s statement said.

Because of California laws, authorities will not say whether or not the suspects are legally in the country.  We also know that authorities aren’t allowed to work with ICE, which regularly impedes investigations.

 

According to local media outlets, Fonseca was being held on two counts of murder and attempted robbery on a $2.25 million bail after being arrested for a June 2018 shooting, and another deadly shooting three days earlier.

Salazar had been arrested in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jaime Martinez. The victim, who was driving in Salinas with his girlfriend and 18-month-old son, was killed as a result of gun shot wounds. Martinez’s girlfriend was shot as well and was treated at a local hospital and survived, while the child wasn’t hurt at all during the flurry of gunfire.

Police investigated the October 12, 2017, shooting as being gang-related. Officers said his tattoos, which included the letter P on his cheek, refer to his Sureño offshoot gang, La Posada Trece, the Californian reported. His trial was scheduled to begin in January.

Fonseca is charged with shooting Lorenzo Gomez Acosta, 37, to death on June 2, 2018, while the victim sat in his car on a video call with his wife in Mexico, the Californian reported. She saw a scuffle, heard her husband screaming “no” and then gunshots rang out, Salinas police Officer Froylan Aranda said.

Fonseca told police that his gang leader told him to kill someone to prove he was still loyal to the “Boronda gang,” Detective Gabriela Contreras testified. Acosta was reportedly chosen at random.

Three days later, Fonseca shot and killed Ernesto Garcia Cruz, 27, in a Salinas park, authorities said. He told police that the gang leader also ordered the slaying and that he picked his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend “to send him a message,” Contreras said.

Investigators haven’t figured out how long they worked on making the means of escape or if anyone else had helped them escape from the jail. All that can be concluded at this time was that they were reported missing at 8:15 a.m. Sunday morning and that their escape route was discovered during the realization that they were missing. 

Thankfully, both have been apprehended and will have their respective days in court. 


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