The Salinas Police Department is preparing to cut its gang-task force by about half, as the department faces budget cuts. The cuts have eliminated 19-vacant officer positions. That’s forcing police officials to transfer 10 of the officers assigned to the city’s Violence Suppression Unit to regular patrol duties. The specialized unit is expected to continue operating in collaboration with state and federal agencies to tackle on-going gang activity in the area. The re-shuffling move is expected to be made July 1st.
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A Norteno gang-member who used his car to run over a sheriff’s deputy in 2009, was sentenced to 34-years in prison today. 30-year-old Raymond Campos was convicted in April of street terrorism, drug possession and sales, and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. Campos’s prior drug-convictions and gang affiliations added length to his sentence. The incident occurred in April of 2009, when authorities tried to break up a drug deal at an apartment complex on Natividad Road, in Salinas. While fleeing, Campos hit a deputy, and ran over his collarbone. The deputy survived.
The SPCA of Monterey County is holding an adoption event this weekend to encourage adoptions of kittens and cats. All this weekend, kittens can be adopted for the discounted price of 19-dollars and 5-cents. Cats more-than a year old can be adopted for free. The Kitten Caboodle event runs until 4 p.m., Sunday. The SPCA of Monterey County is located on the 1-thousand block of highway-68, across from the Laguna Seca Raceway.
A former Pacific Grove man who was convicted in April of raping a woman in 2008, was sentenced to 8-years in prison today. 50-year-old Thomas Pollacci was set to be sentenced yesterday, however he was assaulted by a group of inmates while in a holding cell. Pollacci is also facing 2-additional rape charges, in connection with 2-separate incidents unrelated to this case. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
A 27-year old man is safe after he was kidnapped and held for ransom by 2 men in Salinas last night. The suspects, 20-year old Marland Steeples and 19-year old Troy Joseph contacted the victim’s father saying that his son was being held against his will, and demanded money from the man to pay off a drug debt for his son’s safe return. Officers coordinated a ploy to lure the suspects to a pre-determined location to collect the ransom money and turn the victim over to his father. Both Steeples and Joseph, who were taken into custody while the turn-over was taking place, were booked into Monterey County Jail on charges of Kidnapping, Extortation, Criminal Conspiracy, and Narcotics Sales. Meanwhile the victim was safely reunited with his dad.
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