arrests
April 13, 2021

Nearly 25 years after 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart vanished while walking back to her dorm, a former classmate, Paul Flores, 44, has been charged with one count of murder in connection with her disappearance.

Flores' father, Ruben Ricardo Flores, 80, was also arrested on Tuesday and accused of helping his son dispose of Smart's remains.

Smart, a freshman at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, disappeared in May 1996 after attending a party. Witnesses said Paul Flores said he would make sure she made it safely back to her dorm, but Smart was never seen again. Classmates described Flores as awkward and unpopular, the Los Angeles Times reports, and during questioning from authorities, he admitted to lying about how he got a black eye. Investigators used search dogs and radar equipment to try to find Smart's body, but her remains have never been discovered. She was declared dead in 2002.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters on Tuesday that new evidence in the case was secured in 2016, and in 2019, after hearing a podcast about the Smart case, witnesses came forward and were interviewed for the first time by authorities. Search warrants were issued for the home of Flores, his father, his mother, and his sister, and during a second search of Flores' home, physical evidence "related to the murder of Kristin Smart" was found, Parkinson said.

An attorney for Paul Flores declined to comment, while an attorney for Ruben Flores told the Times his client is "absolutely innocent." Parkinson said police will continue to look for Smart's remains, and in a statement, her family said they hope the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores will be "the first step to bringing our daughter home." Catherine Garcia

January 26, 2021

On the same day a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier this month, the brother of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) received threatening text messages from a person who told him the lawmaker was "putting your entire family at risk with his lies and other words," the congressman's office confirmed on Tuesday.

The incident was included in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan. According to the document, Jeffries' brother, Hasan Jeffries, was told via text on Jan. 6 there were "active/retired law enforcement or military" members who were "armed and nearby your house." He was also warned he "better have a word" with his brother, as they were "not far" from his house either. One of the messages included a picture of a home in Hasan Jeffries' neighborhood.

On Tuesday, federal authorities arrested Robert Lemke, 35, of Bay Point, California, and charged him with sending the messages to Jeffries. The criminal complaint says on Jan. 6, Lemke also sent threatening texts to a relative of a person referred to as "Journalist-1." A person with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times "Journalist-1" is ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, and the relative was told his "words are putting you and your family at risk. We are nearby armed and ready." Stephanopoulos declined to comment.

Lemke faces one count of threatening interstate communications; if found guilty, he could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison. The Times reports that on Facebook, Lemke said he served as a captain in the Air Force and is a former sergeant with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, but a spokesman for the department said he never worked there and a spokeswoman for the Air Force confirmed there is no record showing he ever served.

The criminal complaint says Lemke was vocal about the results of the presidential election, writing at one point on Facebook, "Folks. Be ready for war. Trump has refused to cede." Read more at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

October 16, 2020

Former Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warrant, a spokeswoman for the agency told Reuters.

U.S. and Mexican officials told The Associated Press Cienfuegos was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Cienfuegos, 72, served for six years under former President Enrique Peña Nieto, leading the armed forces through December 2018. This high-profile arrest is "going to have a powerful impact in Mexico," military affairs analyst Raul Benitez told Reuters.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard tweeted that U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau notified him of the arrest and Cienfuegos will be offered "the consular assistance to which he is entitled."

Last year, Genaro Garcia Luna, security minister under ex-President Felipe Calderon, was arrested in Texas on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from a drug cartel. Catherine Garcia

July 25, 2019

On Thursday morning, 16 U.S. Marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, with their alleged crimes involving drugs and human smuggling.

An official told CNN several of the arrests were related to an incident that took place earlier this month, involving two lance corporals and three Mexican citizens. Border Patrol pulled their car over about 20 miles east of the Tecate port of entry, and officers learned from the Mexican citizens that they had agreed to pay thousands of dollars to gain entry to the U.S. The Marines, Byron Law II and David Salazar-Quintero, have been charged with transporting undocumented migrants for financial gain.

"Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests," the Marine Corps said in a statement. "None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission." Catherine Garcia

May 12, 2019

A 30-year-old Massachusetts man will be charged with murder and assault with the intent of murder on Monday after allegedly using a machete to attack two hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia early Saturday morning, authorities said Sunday.

The unidentified hikers, a man and woman, were together when they were attacked. The female victim was seriously wounded, and walked six miles in order to find other hikers to call for help. The man later died from his injuries.

The suspect, James Jordan of West Yarmouth, was arrested Saturday, and is facing federal charges because the incident took place on federal land. In April, Jordan was charged with criminal impersonation and drug possession after threatening hikers on the trail in North Carolina and Tennessee; he was put on probation and ordered to pay fines. Catherine Garcia

May 1, 2019

Actor Rick Schroder was arrested early Wednesday in Los Angeles County on suspicion of domestic violence.

Deputies were called to the 49-year-old's home near Malibu, and upon arrival discovered evidence of a fight between Schroder and an unidentified woman, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Juanita Navarro said. Last month, Schroder was arrested following a similar incident with the woman, The Associated Press reports.

The actor, best known for his roles on Silver Spoons and NYPD Blue, is now out of jail after posting a $50,000 bond. Catherine Garcia

February 3, 2019

Rapper 21 Savage was arrested early Sunday morning in Atlanta by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who said he is an "unlawfully present United Kingdom national," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said the 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the United States on a visa in July 2005, which expired in 2006. He was arrested in a "targeted operation," Cox said, and has been placed in "removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts."

21 Savage has said he's from Atlanta, and recently donated school supplies to thousands of local students. In 2014, he was convicted of felony-related drug charges in Fulton County, and an ICE official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that ICE was not aware of his immigration status at that time. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

A Georgia man was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a plot to attack the White House using an anti-tank rocket, federal authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak said Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, of Cumming has been charged with attempting to damage or destroy a building owned by the United States using fire or an explosive. In an affidavit filed in court Wednesday, an FBI agent stated that in March 2018, a local law enforcement agency received a tip about Taheb; the person said Taheb had been radicalized, was using a new name, and planned to travel overseas.

The complaint says that in October, Taheb told a confidential FBI source he wanted to travel to a territory controlled by the Islamic State, but because he didn't have a passport, he was going to instead attack the White House and Statue of Liberty. He went on to meet with an undercover FBI agent and the FBI source multiple times, and allegedly told them he wanted to use an anti-tank weapon to blow open a door to the White House, taking out as many people as possible. He was arrested by FBI agents while inside a rental car, after he traded his own car for semi-automatic assault rifles, three explosive devices with remote detonators, and an anti-tank rocket. Catherine Garcia

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