- Reporters Desk
Port Launches Emergency Landing Craft
Long Beach — Port of Long Beach officials announced, April 24, the delivery of a refurbished and retrofitted landing craft to strengthen their emergency recovery capabilities.
The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency donated the Landing Craft Mechanized Mark 8, or LCM-8 after it underwent 12 months of renovations to add cleaner engines, a salvage crane and a galley.
The renovations cost $1.5 million and were primarily funded by the California Port and Maritime Security Grant Program.
This craft will mainly be used by the port’s Security Division in support of disaster recovery operations and as the primary launch platform for the division’s dive team and multi-agency dive training.
A hydraulic system with an 8-ton crane is mounted to the side of the vessel. The crane can be used to pluck vehicles out of the water and lower them into the well deck.
A hallmark features of the LCM-8 is the “drop-down ramp.” This ramp can be lowered to allow emergency vehicles to drive from land directly onto the boat and back out again in case of a natural disaster that makes roads and bridges impassable.
POLB is the West Coast with this kind of vessel, the POLB.
Murder in Long Beach
LONG BEACH — At about 10:45 p.m. April 23, Long Beach Police Department officer found a 47-year-old man, who was stabbed to death at an apartment complex on the 6500 block of Indiana Avenue, officials said.
Officers discovered Michael Hess of Long Beach in an apartment with multiple stab wounds. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and determined the victim deceased at the scene.
No suspect information is available at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident should call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Pimp Convicted in Long Beach
LONG BEACH — James Suawvey Conley was convicted April 17 of multiple charges related to a pimping ring spanning from Long Beach to Compton.
Conley, of Compton, was convicted of nine counts related to charges that included human trafficking, lewd acts with a minor and pimping/pandering, officials said.
The case stemmed from an investigation of girl that had been missing since March 2012. Detectives learned that the girl was arrested on prostitution. Detectives learned that Conley forced the girl into prostitution. The prostitutes he pimped were controlled through extreme violence. Another two girls were found as a result of that investigation. The three girls were between 15 and 17 years old.
In June 2012, detectives served a search warrant at Conley’s residence in Compton. Conely was not found at the residence at the time. However, investigators found evidence in the home connecting him to human sex trafficking.
On June 22, 2012, the Long Beach Police Department and U.S. Marshal’s Office arrested Conley. Conley was part of a multimillion-dollar pimping operation that controlled a prostitution track that ran along Long Beach Boulevard, from the 710 Freeway and into Compton. The crimes were took place within three years.
Conley, 25, faces up to 113 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for June 11.
Airport Director to Lead Indianapolis Airport Authority
LONG BEACH — On April 21, Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez announced his resignation from Long Beach to accept a position as executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
Rodriguez was named Long Beach airport director in February 2009.
Throughout his 20-year career, he served in both the public and private sectors. He worked as deputy director at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and in positions at the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach International Airports.
The $57 million parking garage and the $45 million modernization of the Long Beach Terminal took place during Rodriguez’s tenure at the Long Beach Airport. The parking garage was completed four months ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget.
Rodriguez’s last day with the city will be May 23, 2014. The city will conduct a nationwide search for Rodriguez’s successor, considering both internal and external candidates who choose to apply. Upon Rodriguez’s departure, the city manager will appoint an interim director to lead the airport until the selection process is complete.
Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Child-Sex Trafficking Clears Key Senate Committee
SACRAMENTO – On April 22, a bipartisan measure to crack down on people who buy, sell and exploit young children for sex passed the Senate Committee on Public Safety.
Senate Bill 1388, which Sen. Ted Lieu authored, passed the committee on a vote of 6-0. The bill is joint authored with Sen. Jerry Hill and Sen. Holly Mitchell. Republican Sen. Leader Bob Huff is a principal coauthor of the bill.
About 90 percent of the prosecutions of commercial sex trafficking are against prostitutes and only 10 percent against the buyers of sex. This bill seeks to give prosecutors additional tools in order to reverse that paradigm and to provide counseling services for the real victims of these crimes.
According to the FBI, of the 13 highest concentrations of sex trafficking in the United States, three are in California: San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.
Every day, children – both boys and girls – as young as 8 years old are being coerced and sold into prostitution in Los Angeles County and in counties throughout the state. Often times, the child is living in poverty or in the foster care system. Or, these children are kidnapped, drugged and forced into the sex-trade industry. These vulnerable children are easy to target for commercial sex trafficking as pimps can easily lure these children into the industry with promises of protection, material goods and money. Many of these young victims, due to the trauma they experience and the influence pimps exert, remain in the commercial sex trade well after they become adults.
SB 1388 would increase resources and revenues to better fund services for victims of sex trafficking. This bill would also strengthen criminal penalties against sex buyers and impose a penalty structure similar to that for drunken driving. The bill sets a minimum fine of $1,000 for soliciting sex from a minor and a minimum fine of $5,000 for pimping a minor, as well as a minimum of 48 hours in county jail for engaging in commercial sex trafficking. Studies show that increasing fines and setting minimum jail times will deter more than 70 percent of sex buyers. The bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee next and must pass the Senate by the end of May.
U.S. Seeks to Recover More Than $700,000 in Kleptocracy Proceeds
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California seeking to recover more than $700,000 in alleged corruption proceeds of Chun Doo-hwan, the former president of the Republic of Korea.
These monies were seized in February 2014 from the sale of a house located in Newport Beach, Calif., which President Chun’s son, Chun Jae Yong, had purchased in 2005 with proceeds allegedly traceable to his father’s corruption. The United States is working with the Republic of Korea’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office to forfeit these corruption proceeds.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Assistant Director John G. Connolly of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Office of International Affairs.
As alleged in the forfeiture complaint, President Chun was convicted in Korea in 1997 of receiving more than $200 million in bribes from Korean businesses and companies. President Chun and his relatives laundered some of these corruption proceeds through a web of nominees and shell companies in both Korea and the United States.
Through close cooperation between U.S. and Korean law enforcement and prosecution authorities, the $721,951 sought for forfeiture was identified and seized when President Chun’s relatives sold a home in Newport Beach that previously had been purchased with the laundered proceeds of President Chun’s corruption.
This case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, working in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, return those proceeds to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.