Speeders from Carson City get themselves arrested | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Speeders from Carson City get themselves arrested

Authorities in Truckee believe a traffic stop that led to the arrest of two Carson City residents put a dent in the distribution of methamphetamine on the West Coast. The two were arrested Saturday after allegedly trying to retrieve more than a pound of methamphetamine from a vehicle locked in a police impound yard, Truckee Police Lt. Jeff Nichols said. The investigation began Friday, when Lacie Rogers, 19, was stopped for speeding on Interstate 80, Nichols said. California Highway Patrol troopers had the vehicle she was driving towed to a storage yard after learning Rogers had a suspended driver’s license. She was cited and released, and officers gave her and her passenger, Victor Mendiola-Serrano, a ride to town to arrange for transportation back to Carson City, Nichols said. The next day, witnesses reported seeing the two hanging around the police impound yard, authorities said. Rogers was detained, and Mendiola-Serrano, 26, was caught after fleeing into the woods, Nichols said. Investigators later determined Mendiola-Serrano had been inside the storage yard and was trying to remove something from the car’s air duct that turned out to be methamphetamine, police said. Authorities said the drug had an estimated street value of $50,000. Nichols said search warrants were obtained for the impounded vehicle and a second vehicle they used to return to Truckee. A drug dog from the Placer County sheriff’s office was brought in, and though no further drugs were found, the dog’s actions appeared to indicate both vehicles had been used to transport drugs, police Detective Robert Womack said. Additionally, Womack said the vehicles had been “extensively rebuilt” and contained places to hide drugs. Rogers and Mendiola-Serrano were booked on charges of transportation of a controlled substance, transportation across county lines, conspiracy and burglary, authorities said. Mendiola-Serrano also was charged with resisting arrest. Womack said Truckee police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency have connected the two to several West Coast methamphetamine distribution outlets.

Details of near-fatal Truckee river fall are unclear

TRUCKEE – Details are sketchy from a Saturday, July 3, incident where a swimmer from Reno suffered near-fatal injuries after officials say he used a rope swing near the River Ranch off Highway 89 to jump into the Truckee River. Dave Zaski, North Tahoe Fire Protection District public information officer, said the river’s low water levels led to the serious injuries. The younger male was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno via CareFlight helicopter. “That was probably the worst incident for us,” Zaski said. The Squaw Valley Fire Department also responded to the scene. “I believe they (a group of swimmers) were on a rope swing and swinging into the river, and there wasn’t enough water to accommodate the diver,” said Squaw Valley Chief Pete Bansen. Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, said the incident took place at about 4:30 p.m. and estimated the victim fell from about 40-foot drop onto a ridge of submerged rocks. Erwin said officers helped raise the victim’s head above water until medical crews arrived. Neither fire district nor the sheriff’s office could reveal more details as of press time Tuesday – including the swimmer’s name, age or current medical condition. During the July 4 weekend in 2007, a similar incident occurred when a young man misjudged a rope swing entry into the river and hit his head on a rock, putting him in critical condition and requiring an airlift to Renown. Bansen said other than the river incident and the rescue of an injured hiker near the Shirley Lake/Canyon area of Squaw, the region saw no other major incidents. “The late kind of chilly spring was a big help,” Bansen said. The Fourth of July weekend was busy for law enforcement, but that’s normal for the holiday, said area officers. Truckee Police Sgt. Robert Womack said the department had a total of seven DUI arrests – two at a checkpoint Friday night on Donner Pass Road, one as a result of an injury collision, and others around town. “We didn’t really see anything special for a Fourth of July weekend,” Womack said. The checkpoint, run with California Highway Patrol, also netted Truckee Police two arrests for alleged possession of narcotics, Womack said, but the holiday weekend had fewer drunk-in-public arrests than in the past. CHP Officer Tony Prisco said the highway patrol made 19 DUI arrests over the weekend in the area, including two at the checkpoint, where he estimated between 500 and 800 cars were checked. “It was a busy weekend, but we didn’t have any fatalities – we had accidents, but nothing severe,” Prisco said. “Pretty much routine stuff.” “It was as crowded as ever on the west end of Donner Lake,” Womack said. The crowds were still going as of Monday, Womack said, keeping officers busy through the start of the week. From a fire and medical perspective, Truckee Fire Protection District Public Safety and Information Officer Gene Welch said it was an average Fourth of July. He said the district had 16 medical calls, three assists, three fire calls, three motor vehicle accidents, a carbon monoxide call and a gas leak over the course of the weekend. In Tahoe City and Kings Beach the Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported 16 alcohol-related arrests, with four people arrested for public drunkenness: one in Kings Beach, one in Tahoe City and two in Olympic Valley. Deputy Jeff Power said officers responded to a vehicle burglary between Tahoe City and Truckee, a report of grand theft in Tahoe Vista, a report of trespassing in Tahoe City and a pair of home burglaries in Homewood and Tahoe City. “We didn’t have a whole lot of incidents this weekend, surprisingly,” Power said. Capt. Jeff Granum attributed the low arrests to crowd control caused by swimmers and floaters unable to access the Truckee River due to low water flows. “Compared to previous years, our arrest numbers are way, way, down,” Granum said. The North Tahoe Fire Protection District reported 25 emergency medical service calls, three motor vehicle accidents, a small building fire on a house deck and one motor vehicle collision with a pedestrian at Kings Beach State Park.

Four arrested after hash-oil explosion at Truckee apartment

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Four people were arrested Sunday on suspicion of drug manufacturing and child endangerment following a chemical explosion inside a Truckee apartment. Police and fire officials responded to a reported grease fire at about 2:30 p.m. at the Truckee Pines apartment complex at 10100 Estates Drive, according to the Truckee Police Department. Authorities determined the fire was caused by a small chemical explosion "when several subjects were trying to make hash oil from marijuana," police said in a statement. One of the apartment's occupants, Anthony Thomas Garner, 20, of Truckee, suffered moderate burns and was treated at Tahoe Forest Hospital. He was medically cleared and arrested on suspicion of manufacturing drugs, child endangerment, criminal conspiracy and maintaining a residence for manufacturing drugs, all felonies. His bail was set at $35,000; as of Tuesday, he had been released from jail. Three more of the apartment's occupants — Kiev Watson-Akright, 22, of Truckee; Yvenel Casseide, 21, of Tampa, Fla.; and Austin Michael Coton, 21, of Tampa, Fla. — were unhurt. They were arrested and booked in Nevada County Jail in Truckee on suspicion of various drugs, child endangerment/cruelty and conspiracy charges. Bail was set for each at $35,000, and they remained in jail as of Tuesday. It wasn't immediately known if the suspects had an attorney. A 1-month-old girl who was inside the apartment was not hurt, TPD Sgt. Robert Womack said Tuesday. The infant was released to her mother, who also was in the apartment at the time of the incident, but was not arrested because she was "not directly involved," Womack said. Officers also recovered a "quantity of marijuana" at the residence, he said. Damage to the unit was minor, Womack said, and was mainly due to water from its sprinkler system. No other units in the complex were damaged, and none were evacuated. Making hash oil, or hashish, has reportedly become common in recent years among marijuana users looking for stronger THC content. The process involves using butane fuel to cook low-quality marijuana. "One of the things about hash oil, you don't use the good stuff to do this," Womack said.

San Diego man held in Truckee rape case on $100,000 bond

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A San Diego man accused of raping a woman in Truckee remained in jail Thursday under $100,000 in bond, authorities said. Douglas Scott Thomas, 25, is charged with rape, reports state. He's accused of sexually assaulting a woman on Wednesday, Nov. 14, while she was unconscious. She reported the assault that day, and the Truckee Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest, TPD Sgt. Robert Womack told The Union newspaper in Grass Valley. Authorities arrested Thomas — whose profession is listed as firefighter, according to the Nevada County Jail — days later in Boise, Idaho. Deputies booked him into the Nevada County Jail on Wednesday, Womack added.

Two men arrested for alleged burglary of Truckee smoke shop

Two men were arrested on Saturday, July 1, for the alleged burglary of a smoke shop in Truckee after authorities discovered the duo holed up in heavy brush near the business. Tad Crane, 22, of Truckee, and Luke Smith, 22, of Soda Springs, each face felony charges of commercial burglary and conspiracy, the Truckee Police Department said in a report. Each suspect also faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting officers. The men were arrested shortly after Truckee police officers responded at 3:48 a.m. to a burglary alarm at Enjoyabowl Smoke Shop, 11084 West River St. Police officers executed a search warrant at a nearby location, where they recovered additional stolen property. The additional stolen property was allegedly taken from the same business on June 25. Both men were booked into Nevada County Jail in Truckee. Each suspect is being held on $22,500 bail. Anyone with information about the alleged burglaries is asked to contact Detective Chase Covington at 530-550-2333.

Two men arrested for alleged burglary of Truckee smoke shop

Two men were arrested on Saturday, July 1, for the alleged burglary of a smoke shop in Truckee after authorities discovered the duo holed up in heavy brush near the business. A 22-year-old Truckee man and a 22-year-old Soda Springs man both face felony charges of commercial burglary and conspiracy, the Truckee Police Department said in a report. Each suspect also faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting officers. The men were arrested shortly after Truckee police officers responded at 3:48 a.m. to a burglary alarm at Enjoyabowl Smoke Shop, 11084 West River St. Police officers executed a search warrant at a nearby location, where they recovered additional stolen property. The additional stolen property was allegedly taken from the same business on June 25. Both men were booked into Nevada County Jail in Truckee. Each suspect is being held on $22,500 bail. Anyone with information about the alleged burglaries is asked to contact Detective Chase Covington at 530-550-2333.

Teen to face sentencing

TRUCKEE – Scott Lindner, who pleaded no contest last month to a fatal hit-and-run incident and charges of statutory rape, will appear in court today for sentencing. Lindner’s expected state prison sentence will be four years and eight months, said Truckee Deputy District Attorney William Cornell. Lindner has pleaded no contest on one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of Truckee resident Keith Stewart, 19. Lindner also pled no contest to one count of felony sexual intercourse with a minor, and one count of misdemeanor sexual intercourse with a minor, Cornell said. In September 2006, Lindner of Ross, Calif., pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the hit-and-run incident that killed Stewart. The death occurred Aug. 16 in front of witnesses during a concert at Truckee River Regional Park. Also in September 2006, Lindner pleaded innocent to statutory rape charges involving the 17-year-old Truckee girl and a 13-year-old girl. Truckee police learned of the allegations while investigating the hit-and-run. On Dec. 5, 2006, Lindner, 18, changed his plea from innocent to no contest regarding the charges, Cornell said. The week before the hit-and-run A week before the fatal hit-and-run incident, Stewart and Lindner were involved in a fight, said Lindner’s attorney, John Ward. While driving his SUV on the 06 Forest Service road near Tahoe City, Lindner got his vehicle stuck close to where Stewart and 10 to 20 other people were out partying, Ward said. “There was a bunch of teasing involved,” said Ward, which led to Stewart and Lindner getting into a physical fight. Ward said he did not know who initiated the fight or what ended the altercation. Lindner was hit in the face with a board, either by Stewart or Stewart’s brother, Paul Stewart, Ward said. Paul Stewart did not return the Sun’s calls before press time. During investigation into Stewart’s death, Truckee police discovered that two women under the age of 18 said they had had consensual sexual relations with Lindner. As a result, Lindner not only faced charges of hit-and-run, but also two charges of statutory rape, one involving a 17-year-old Truckee girl and one involving a 13-year-old girl. Truckee Police Detective Robert Womack said the 13-year-old girl involved in the felony statutory rape charges “saw most of the (hit-and-run) incident, if not all of it,” according to court documents. Womack said the 13-year-old “originally denied any physical relationship” with Lindner before disclosing two incidents of consensual sexual relations, according to court documents. He said Lindner “originally denied” having a physical relationship with the 13-year-old, but then admitted to having a sexual relationship with her. Womack said Lindner thought the 13-year-old girl was older at the time. At an arraignment hearing held in September 2006 at Nevada County Superior Court, Lindner surrendered himself and is currently in custody at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City. Lindner may make a statement during Tuesday’s sentencing, Ward said, but that decision has not yet been made.

Man catches kids robbing house

A South Lake Tahoe man helped foil a burglary Friday afternoon. Russell Taylor, 50, was in his house on the 1000 block of Truckee Drive when he saw boys peeking into windows of his neighbor’s home. By the time Taylor confronted them, the four teen-agers had already broken a window, entered the home and stolen a statue and a beer, police said. Taylor caught one of the boys, a 14-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, and held him until police arrived. He pursued the other boys in his car until officers took over the chase. Police found the three other boys, two 11 years old and one 13, hiding along the bank of the Upper Truckee River. All the boys were cited for burglary and released to their parents. Two of them were not in school on Friday because they were suspended for fighting. The other two had cut school, police said. The boys told police that they met at a tree house behind Albertsons before they decided to burglarize a house.

Truckee man, 53, dies after apparent bicycle accident near Donner Lake

TRUCKEE, Calif. – A 53-year-old local man died Friday after an apparent bicycling accident on Old Highway 40 near Donner Lake, according to the Truckee Police Department. Police found the man – identified Sunday afternoon as Truckee resident Larry Sage, according to the Associated Press – near the South Shore Drive intersection, west of Donner Summit, at about 9:35 a.m. He suffered “massive head injuries” despite wearing a helmet, according to a report from police; he was declared dead upon arrival at a Reno hospital. No one else was hurt in the single-bicycle accident. According to a report by the Reno Gazette-Journal, two officers working the investigation Friday patched a pothole within several hundred feet of the accident scene. “I can tell you that there is a pothole near the scene of the accident,” Truckee Police Sgt. Allen McKay told the newspaper. “Whether that pothole was involved has not been determined yet.” Sage retired as director of the Nevada County Department of Environmental Health in 2005 after 15 years with department, according to a previous Sierra Sun story. Among his passions were nature photography and being a backcountry guide. Truckee police initially reported the man was 47 years old. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact Truckee Police Sgt. Robert Womack at 530-550-2323.

A dozen graduates charged in prank: Stunt comes on heels of South Tahoe High vandalism

TRUCKEE – A senior prank at the high school here earlier this week took an unplanned turn when the police showed up and broke up the shenanigans. The teens – who had graduated one day before – broke into the school and spread condiments and flour on the floors, lockers and walls but didn’t get into classrooms, said Truckee police Lt. Jeff Nichols. “They made forced entry into the school,” he said. “They created a situation that’s pretty serious by doing that. That’s a felony burglary.” The June 19 North Shore prank comes on the heels of a senior prank at South Tahoe High School, in which students were punished with the cancellation of a senior picnic after vandalizing vehicles with paint and eggs and tossing license plates around. Police responded to the Truckee campus after someone reported that teens were entering the high school. Most of the estimated 28 teens scattered when officers showed up at 11:30 p.m., but three, who were on the roof when police arrived, were arrested and booked in jail by police, Nichols said. Earlier in the night, the graduates purchased approximately $100 worth of syrup, ketchup, mustard and flour at Safeway, Nichols said. “They were turned away by the manager,” he said. “They were trying to buy more, but they didn’t have enough money.” After police broke up the prank, janitors started the cleanup process and worked through the night. Tahoe Truckee High School had not submitted a damage report to police at press time. So far, a dozen of the teens have been charged and released on suspicion of burglary and felony vandalism. Nichols said police have 16 more names of student suspects. No arrest warrants have been filed. “It seems like the word is out and most of them are being cooperative,” he said. “They’re all coming in here on their own.” Nichols said he has heard that some of the students are on vacation this week. The names of the adults arrested will not released by police until all the students have been charged. The names of those who are younger than 18 years old will not be released. The teens are scheduled for arraignment on July 18 in Nevada County Superior Court in Truckee. – Tribune staff writer William Ferchland contributed to this report.