Saturday, November 22, 2008

Former Officer Richard Mashburn Arrested for Making Homebrewed Beer

A man who had long enforced anti-booze laws in a dry Northwest Alaska village was arrested and charged earlier this month after investigators found a big stash of homebrew — and plenty of stuff to make more — in his house.

Alaska State Troopers charged Richard Mashburn, 52, and wife, Lydia Mashburn, 51, both of Selawik, with two felony counts each of manufacturing homebrew and two more felony counts each of intent to sell without a license.

Residents in the village of 830 had voiced suspicions about the Mashburns to troopers at community meetings called this year to address the need for a new village public safety officer, said Sgt. Karl Main in the Troopers’ Kotzebue post.

Richard Mashburn served as Selawik’s village public safety officer for around a decade until last year, when the Native nonprofit that ran the region’s VPSO program at the time terminated him for “performance-related issues,” Main said.

The nonprofit, the Kodiak Area Native Association, didn’t provide more information about the termination, Main said.

At the Selawik meetings, residents said drunkenness in the village was on the rise, especially among young people. Some pointed out that much of the activity seemed centered around the Mashburn house, according to Main.

On Nov. 5, Kotzebue investigators with Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement flew to the village and served a search warrant on the house. They found several black trash bags filled with fermenting homebrew. When they returned to arrest the couple a few days later, they found more, trooper said.

Troopers seized 19.5 gallons of the booze. They also took ingredients that were presumably being used to make it — 365 pounds of sugar, 20 pounds of yeast and 19 cans of fruit.

Trae Bower, an investigator in the region for three years, said the find was sizable.

“This is one of the larger amounts of homebrew ever found in one residence at one time,” he said.

He didn’t know its street value. As for its alcohol content, homebrew is generally two to three times more potent than beer, he said.

Selling the stuff can be very lucrative in villages, with peddlers able to earn more than 10 times their investment, Main said.

“You can spend $30 to $50 on ingredients and make $500,” he said.

Main praised Selawik residents for notifying Troopers about the couple, and complimented investigators who had worked with community members in the case.

“A lot of this was the result of the community standing up and saying enough’s enough. They won’t wait until someone dies or gets hurt because of serious alcohol consumption,” he said.

“It’s a great example of what can be accomplished if we all work together.”

Deputy Sgt. Lance Rawson Charged with Securities Fraud


Two men accused of securities fraud say the case is just a big misunderstanding, but a Charlotte County sheriff's deputy has been charged, a circle of Punta Gorda friends has been broken and fingerpointing has begun.

Sgt. Lance Scott Rawson's photo was not released. Joseph R. Venezia, above, is also charged. Sgt. Lance Scott Rawson, 39, a 14-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, and Joseph R. Venezia, 72, each were charged with securities fraud, a third-degree felony, on Nov. 12.

The two were released from jail the same day after posting $10,000 bail. Rawson was placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. They are scheduled for arraignment on Dec. 15.

Investigators say they sold more than $20,000 worth of eSuite Hotels stock to MaryAnn Hall -- an acquaintance of Venezia's -- after telling her the shares would triple in price within weeks.

Trouble was, they were never authorized to sell the stock in the first place, sheriff's Detective Cpl. Randy Whitney said.

Venezia claims that eSuite Chairman Jerry Ellenburg asked both him and Rawson to seek investors to help raise money for the fledgling Tampa-based hotel company. Venezia owned 254,000 shares and Rawson 506,000 as accredited investors.

"I thought it was OK to sell the stock," Venezia said, adding that shares were sold to 17 people. "I had no idea I would get in trouble."

Ellenburg declined to comment on whether he asked the pair to sell shares, but stressed that they required company approval to do so and that no permission was granted.

"Permission was not achieved, everybody knows that, that is the beginning and end of that topic," Ellenburg said. "The rest is speculation. Did they know they shouldn't have sold it? Should they have known? No one knows."

Both Venezia and Rawson told investigators they knew each stock sale had to be approved by eSuites.

But Venezia says he is being "railroaded" by Ellenburg because the chairman does not want a black eye for his company.

He also said he believes Rawson, a friend and neighbor from the 26000 block of Copiapo Circle, has turned against him.

Rawson agreed with Venezia that the case is a misunderstanding, but declined to comment further. Rawson told investigators he was never a part of the deal with Hall and never received any money from the transactions.

Rawson's attorney, Russell Kirshy, said his client is innocent and that the alleged actions do not even amount to a crime.

Prosecutor Donald Mason's office said he would not comment.

Hall was introduced to Venezia and Rawson, both of whom told her the value of the shares would triple in two to four weeks, she told investigators. Rawson said she could trust him because he was a deputy and had never cheated anyone, the arrest warrant said.

Venezia received a check for $16,500 in October 2007 and one for $6,000 in November 2007 from Hall, the warrant stated. Hall was told she was buying 18,000 shares in eSuite Hotels, described on its Web site as a new upscale hotel brand offering high-tech infrastructure and services.

According to Venezia, as well as Hall's statement to detectives, Rawson asked that the second check be made out to Venezia and not to him. Venezia says he and Rawson each took half of the $22,500.

When the stock failed to sell, Hall contacted Ellenburg, who told her that no such transaction was ever made in her name, and that there was no board approval for the transfer.

Venezia said Hall has since been repaid all of her money, plus $100, with him and Rawson splitting the payback 50-50. Kirshy, Rawson's attorney, confirmed that Hall has been compensated but said he could not comment on how the repayment was split.

Trial Begins Next Month for Officer Tony Gonzalez Accused of Sexual Abuse


The trial of a former Silverton police officer facing sexual abuse charges is set to begin next month after attorneys in the case reached an agreement Friday.

Tony Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of sex abuse. His trial before Marion County Circuit Judge Joseph Guimond is scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10.

Gonzalez was arrested July 13 after a woman told Keizer police he had been sexually abusing her daughter.

In a separate case, Gonzalez was cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Irish citizen June 30.

A Marion County grand jury determined in July that Gonzalez believed 20-year-old Andrew James Hanlon was armed when he charged the officer. His family later said Hanlon was mentally ill.

Officer Brian Gable Charged with DUI

An off-duty Philadelphia Police officer was charged early today with driving under the influence of alcohol after he was involved in a collision on Roosevelt Boulevard that injured a 67-year-old Bucks County man.

Brian Gable, 21, a 25th District officer with a year's service, was placed on desk duty pending an administrative review, said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.

Vanore said Gable was charged after his pickup truck collided with a van driven by a Bensalem man at 3:40 a.m. on the Boulevard near Rhawn Street. The other motorist, who was not identified, was treated for a concussion and released.

Former Sheriff Candidate Robert Hill Ordered Involuntary Committed

A former candidate for Pierce County Sheriff has been ordered into involuntary commitment at a mental health facility following his release from the Pierce County Jail.

Robert Jesse Hill, 28, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly pointed a replica handgun at a security guard at the Pierce County courthouse.

Hill was at the courthouse to attend the arraignment of Issac Sherman Powell, who was arrested Wednesday after deputies said he tried to enter the courthouse carrying a handgun. Sheriff's spokesman Detective Ed Troyer said the gun Powell was carrying is registered to Robert Hill's mother.

Hill was also arrested on Monday for allegedly driving on a suspended license. He was wanted on a warrant and showed up for a court appearance at the Pierce County courthouse.

Hill was involuntarily committed after a mental health review prior to his release from jail Thursday night. Hill will likely remain in the hospital until he appears before a judge next week.

Hill ran for Pierce County sheriff in the November election, garnering more than 50,000 votes or close to 20 percent.

He is also under investigation for possible death threats against the sheriff, Troyer said.

During his campaign for sheriff, Hill made statements about his opponent Sheriff Paul Pastor dying before taking office.

In a telephone interview with KIRO 7 South Sound reporter Kevin McCarty Hill said, "Jehovah's probably going to strike him down here in the next couple months," claiming God was angry at Pastor.

Due to federal privacy laws, Puget Sound hospital and the Pierce county sheriff's department cannot comment, or confirm Hill's commitment.

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Ex-officer accused in Manila slayings arrested in Pembroke Pines

Two former Philippine police officers accused in a politically motivated double homicide have been arrested in the United States, including one in Pembroke Pines, authorities in New York and Miami said Friday.

Philippine authorities have charged Glenn Dumlao and Cesar Mancao with being among as many as 10 officers who carried out the kidnapping and slaying of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer, a publicist who represented top political figures. Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, were snatched from a Manila street in 2000. They were found strangled.

Dumlao, 45, was arrested by U.S. immigration agents on Thursday outside his apartment in Patchogue, a Long Island village.

Mancao, 47, was arrested Thursday in Pembroke Pines, according to a statement by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. A magistrate ordered him held without bail.

Fugitive Deputy Kyle Yates Arrested for Raping and Molesting Child

The former Palm Beach County deputy who ran from the law for four months was arrested Saturday in Texas on charges of raping and molesting a child.

Kyle Yates, 38, ran away with his work-issued .45-caliber Glock handgun after he was confronted with the allegations in July. Deputies later charged him.

Police said a county employee in Corpus Christi recognized Yates while at a nightclub, according to the Caller-Times newspaper. The employee notified authorities, who arrested Yates without incident as he left the club early Saturday.

He will be extradited to Palm Beach County to face his charges.

Some of his family and friends said Saturday that they couldn't believe the man who loved law enforcement could be charged with such a crime.

Yates, an Army veteran and former Greenacres police officer, lost his badge with the Sheriff's Office after he went on the run.

"He abandoned his position," as a deputy, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

Yates was hired by the Sheriff's Office in 2004 and worked in Belle Glade and Wellington. His personnel file shows that he was a deputy who, in many aspects, exceeded requirements.

"Yates is a hard worker always willing to do more or assist a co-worker," his 2006 performance plan read. His mother welled up when asked about her son.

"He is a perfect son," said his mother, Linda Key. "I could tell you the good things but they're overshadowed by the bad things."

Yates, who grew up in Tennessee, loved spending time with his 8-year-old boy, Key said.

Yates told family members in July that he was going to check himself into a mental health facility and left before deputies arrived to question him.

Besides his Glock, Yates may have taken a Remington shotgun, deputies said.

He answered a call from a Sheriff's Office sergeant on the night he left and expressed suicidal thoughts. He reportedly said that he was on his way to the South County Mental Health Center in Delray Beach. Instead, investigators said, he took his family's only vehicle and drove to Texas.

The next day, July 25, Yates was recorded using a credit card at a gas station in Odem, Texas, not far from Corpus Christi, the Sheriff's Office said. Authorities lost his trail after that.

"He's one of the finest people I know and I have nothing bad to say about him," said family friend Jo Ann Talley, 80, of Bell Buckle, Tenn. "I'm hoping to God this turns out to be untrue."

Officer Daniel Lane Arrested for Domestic Assault

A Kingsport police officer was arrested Thursday night for allegedly assaulting his wife. The two currently are separated.

According to an arrest report from the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a report of an assault at 203 Hickory Hill Road in Church Hill about 10 p.m. The alleged victim told deputies that her husband, Daniel Scott Lane, 32, had grabbed her by the throat and forced her to the bed.

According to the arrest report, deputies observed several red marks on the woman’s throat. The marks were consistent with the type of assault described, deputies said in the report. Photos of the woman’s injuries were taken.

Based on the woman’s account of what happened and the marks on her neck, detectives determined there was probable cause to arrest Lane, 1513 Pendleton St., Kingsport. The police report says Lane was arrested at the Church Hill Police Department, charged with domestic assault, and taken to the Hawkins County Jail.

Lane is a patrolman for the Kingsport Police Department, Police Chief Gale Osborne confirmed. He was hired on March 10. Prior to that, he had several years of experience as a Hawkins County deputy, Osborne said.

Osborne said this is the first time Lane has gotten into trouble since he joined the department.

Lane has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Osborne said.