[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 21
1978 - St. Francis Dam site becomes a State Landmark [story]
state landmark dedication


| Wednesday, Apr 24, 2019
Deputy Adam Halloran is a member of the SCV Sheriff's Station's Domestic Highway Enforcement Team, which made the largest roadside seizure of fentanyl in the nation last year.
Deputy Adam Halloran is a member of the SCV Sheriff's Station's Domestic Highway Enforcement Team, which made the largest roadside seizure of fentanyl in the nation last year.

 

The county’s Office of Inspector General has reviewed a program meant to stem the flow of drugs into the Santa Clarita Valley and found Latino drivers were stopped at a much higher rate than drivers of other races — and recommended shutting down the program until strict guidelines are in place.

The Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General on Thursday released its 48-page report on the Domestic Highway Enforcement Team and found several problems with the program, which the report described as “constitutionally troubling.”

The report concludes: “The DHET should not be reinstated without the department’s first creating and then implementing strict guidelines, supervision and appropriate policies to govern deputies’ conduct.”

The OIG made 26 recommendations for reform if the DHET is to be reinstated.

In its present form, however, the program should not be reinstated, the report said.

The report concluded: “The DHET practices had a constitutionally troubling impact on Latino drivers. They were stopped and searched by the DHET at a much higher rate than drivers of other races or ethnicities.

“Furthermore, the rate of successful arrests and prosecutions of those stopped and searched by the DHET was low.”

6-month probe
From April 2018 to September 2018, OIG investigators reviewed and analyzed the DHET’s traffic-stop data that showed a specialized team of 13 deputies conducting 976 traffic stops involving 1,015 vehicle occupants on Interstate 5.

Of that total, 67.9% of the occupants of the vehicles stopped were Latino.

Additionally, out of 322 searches in which drivers agreed to a “consent search,” 81.7% were vehicles occupied by Latinos.

Of the 245 persons detained by the DHET in “back-seat detentions” to investigate whether those persons were involved in unlawful conduct, 216 — or 88.2% — were Latino.

Only 26 stops — or 2.7% of total stops — reviewed by OIG staff resulted in arrests (36 people arrested) and only 21 of those stops resulted in narcotics-related arrests.

Thirty-three — or 91.7% — of the 36 people arrested were Latino.

While the DHET was able to confiscate drugs, money and guns during the time period examined, its effectiveness is difficult to gauge, the report states.

Negative impact
The impact on Latinos, it states, along with other issues, has the potential to negatively impact the public’s trust in the Sheriff’s Department and cause concerns about the overall effectiveness of the DHET’s program.

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said of the report Tuesday: “I appreciate the thorough analysis conducted by the Office of the Inspector General and encourage the Sheriff’s Department to work in collaboration with the OIG to reconcile any discrepancies in department protocols that would increase confidence and provide more standardized interactions with our community.”

Carrie Lujan, spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita, said: “The city of Santa Clarita contracts with LASD, who has oversight of the DHE team. The response would be more appropriate from LASD.”

Phone and emails requests for a response from SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Robert Lewis were not returned Wednesday.

I-5 Drug corridor
The DHET program was created in 2012 in response to an increase in the drugs moving through the I-5 corridor and into the SCV.

“Management staff (for the SCV Sheriff’s Station) began looking at the possibility that the I-5 corridor was being used as a thoroughfare to move drugs from the Mexican border to parts north and then to move drug proceeds and guns south to Mexico,” the report states.

During the initial three months, management staff reported that deputies seized $8 million worth of narcotics and more than $379,000 in drug monies and arrested 92 suspects.

OIG investigators, however, said the successes with the DHET program did not outweigh its problems.

DHET members presented 36 cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution in federal court. Those cases resulted from arrests that occurred between 2012 and 2017.

Out of those cases, the federal prosecutor secured 16 convictions.

Cases dismissed
Five of the cases were cash-only forfeiture proceedings, and three are still pending in federal court. Of the 36 cases, 11 were dismissed. Six of the 11 cases were dismissed on a motion by federal prosecutors both pre- and post-indictment, and the remaining five cases were dismissed by the court after defense motions to suppress evidence was granted.

The OIG’s review of all the dismissals indicates that the 11 cases were dismissed either because of concerns about the credibility of one of the DHET deputies or because the seizure of contraband by the DHET violated the Fourth Amendment.

Some of the OIG recommendations include:
* Any DHET deputy must receive training on drug trafficker interdiction.
* Any DHET supervisor must receive training on narcotic and specialized unit supervision.
* DHET deputies and supervisors must get annual training on search-and-seizure law.
* They must attend biannual training on racial profiling and cultural diversity.
* A written policy must be set down on DHET goals.
* The department must come up with a stand-alone policy clearly prohibiting racial profiling.
The in-car video system purchased by the city of Santa Clarita for the DHET must be properly accounted for.

The OIG found that in 2015 the city of Santa Clarita bought four in-car video systems for the DHET, totaling $27,534. Investigators noted that any donation exceeding $10,000 must be first considered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

See the complete report here.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Cornerstone Christian Alum Graduates from Air Force Basic Training
U.S. Air Force Airman Matthew G. Hernandez graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Wilk’s Doggie Donor Bill Would Allow Community Animals to Donate Blood
SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Tuesday that Senate Bill 202 (SB 202) unanimously passed the Senate. SB 202 allows for the commercial use of animal blood from community-sourced donors.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Deputies Respond to Report of Attack at Sierra Vista Junior High
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies are on scene at Sierra Vista Junior High investigating a report of an attack by a student, according to officials.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
SAN MATEO — Freshman thrower Jordan Palmer finished runner-up in the shot put and Delon Buncio placed fourth in the long jump as College of the Canyons track & field closed out its season by competing at CCCAA State Championship meet hosted by the College of San Mateo May 17-18.
COC Freshman Thrower Finishes Runner-Up at State Championships
NORTHRIDGE - With the programs' most qualifiers since 2017, the CSUN men's and women's track and field teams are getting ready to compete in the 2019 NCAA Division I West Regional this weekend at Sacramento State.
Matadors Track Team Heads to Sacramento for West Regionals
As part of ongoing efforts to provide the public and university stakeholders with additional access to financial information, the California State University has launched a new financial transparency portal.
CSU Launches Transparency Portal to Provide Additional Financial Access
On April 24, millions of people across the world celebrated Denim Day and wore denim to show their support for education and awareness about all forms of sexual violence.
Art Piece Inspired by Denim Day on Display at City Hall
Hart High School’s Regiment Band will be holding its annual Spring Concert Tuesday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. in the Hart High School Auditorium.
May 21: Hart High School’s Annual Spring Concert
U.S. Air Force Airman Matthew G. Hernandez graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Cornerstone Christian Alum Graduates from Air Force Basic Training
SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Tuesday that Senate Bill 202 (SB 202) unanimously passed the Senate. SB 202 allows for the commercial use of animal blood from community-sourced donors.
Wilk’s Doggie Donor Bill Would Allow Community Animals to Donate Blood
Since Medicare pays for a significant amount of prescription opioids, we strive to ensure appropriate stewardship of these medications that can provide a medical benefit but also pose risks.
Medicare Helps Seniors Use Opioids Safely | Commentary by Greg Dill
To honor California State University, Northridge alumna Virginia Orndorff and her passion of the arts, her husband Chris Orndorff donated $218,000 to create an endowment for art student scholarships.
CSUN Gifted with $218K to Create Endowment for Art Scholarships
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies are on scene at Sierra Vista Junior High investigating a report of an attack by a student, according to officials.
Deputies Respond to Report of Attack at Sierra Vista Junior High
The College of the Canyons men's and women’s soccer programs are inviting boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the 2019 Youth Summer Soccer Camp, with two sessions running this summer.
Registration for COC Youth Summer Soccer Camps Now Open
SACRAMENTO – With summer around the corner, Memorial Day weekend traffic will likely increase on California roadways.
CHP Focusing on Seat Belt Usage Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend
Waste Management’s service for residential trash, recycling, and green waste pick-up, as well as commercial service will be delayed by one day throughout the week of May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.
Waste Management Delays Services by 1 Day in Observance of Memorial Day
Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides hosted a reunion on Sunday for the volunteers who have served our community for the last 32 years.
Former Safe Rides Volunteers Share 32 Years of Memories
On Monday night, deputies detained a male juvenile from La Mesa Junior High on charges of criminal threats, after he allegedly made statements threatening violence against the school.
Student Detained on Alleged Criminal Threats Against La Mesa Junior High
SACRAMENTO — Caltrans has awarded $40.5 million to local agencies for transportation projects statewide. The grant money will be used for planning on projects that will reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change.
Caltrans Awards $40.5M to Local Agencies for Statewide Transportation Projects
1978 - St. Francis Dam site becomes a State Landmark [story]
state landmark dedication
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce has expressed its support for the proposed Jobs Creation Overlay Zone to be considered by the Santa Clarita Planning Commission at City Hall on Tuesday, May 21.
SCV Chamber Supports City’s Proposed Jobs Creation Overlay Zone
The Saugus Band and Color Guard will stage a fundraising event at Chipotle in Valencia on Tuesday, May 21 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
May 21: Saugus Band, Color Guard Fundraiser at Chipotle
The Lancaster JetHawks played a season-high 14 innings but went hitless during the extra frames in a 4-3 loss to the Visalia Rawhide on Friday night at Recreation Ballpark.
JetHawks Opener Goes Season-High 14, Ends in Loss to Rawhide
Often what the retailer is most concerned about is location in the mall and how much the rent is. Some do not bother to read the 100-page or longer leases before signing them. Later they get some very unpleasant surprises.
Read Your Mall Lease, Or You’ll Be Sorry | Commentary by Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Frontier Toyota and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will proudly sponsor the 2019 White Ribbon Campaign in the Santa Clarita Valley from Monday, May 27 through Friday, June 7.
May 27-June 7: White Ribbon Campaign to Promote Safe Student Driving
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a statement Friday night regarding the reinstatement of deputies who had been fired, a source of conflict with the county Board of Supervisors.
LA Sheriff Villanueva Defends Deputy Reinstatements
For the second year in a row, CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan has been recognized in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2019 LA500, LABJ’s annual list of LA County’s 500 most influential business leaders.
CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan Named to LA Business Journal’s 2019 LA500
California Insitute of the Arts in Valencia and California State University, Northridge in the San Fernando Valley are among the top U.S. film schools listed in Variety's "Best Film Schools for 2019" report.
CalArts, CSUN on Variety’s List of Best Film Schools for 2019
The College of the Canyons swim & dive program invites swimmers ages 8 to 18 to participate in the 2019 COC Swim Camp with two sessions running this summer in mid-June and late June.
Registration Now Open for COC Summer Swim Camp
Santa Clarita native Colton Herta is looking to add his name to the record books once again, this time at the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
Herta to Start 5th at Indy 500 on May 26
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies are looking for a man who allegedly exposed himself to a woman at a park in Towsley Canyon on Thursday, station officials reported Monday.
SCV Deputies Seek Man Suspected of Indecent Exposure
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has extended a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures for the Los Angeles County mountain areas through Thursday, May 23.
Cold Weather Alert for Mountain Areas Extended to Thursday
Hundreds of bystanders clapped and cheered as some of the world’s best cyclists pedaled off at the beginning of the final leg of the Amgen Tour of California cycle race in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
Amgen Tour of California Rolls Through Santa Clarita
California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, honored The Brittany Foundation with his Non-Profit Appreciation Award during the Foundation's Annual Memorial event and Chili Cook-Off on Saturday.
Wilk Honors Brittany Foundation With Non-Profit Appreciation Award
The story of Mentryville, now a California State Historical Landmark, begins in 1876, when Charles Alexander Mentry drilled California’s first commercially viable oil well in Pico Canyon, named Pico No. 4, and a small town grew around the apparatus.
Mentryville, the SCV’s First Boom Town
A Castaic woman has been identified as the bicyclist who was killed by a street sweeper in Valencia early Sunday morning.
Castaic Woman Identified as Bicyclist Killed by Street Sweeper
After almost seven years in business, the Newhall Pharmacy on Main Street has had its pharmacy license pulled by state authorities who found the drug store, among other violations, selling heroin-like opioid drugs to people without a prescription.
Newhall Pharmacy Loses License for Opioid Sales Without Prescriptions
Blade Energy Partners has completed its independent analysis of the leak at Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility that began on October 23, 2015, and determined the rupture's cause was a corroded well casing.
Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Caused by Corroded Well Casing
Forty-five years ago, President Gerald Ford proclaimed the third full week of May as Emergency Medical Services Week in honor of those first responders who provide immediate lifesaving measures to those in need.
LASD Salutes First Responders in Emergency Medical Services Week