The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted August 15, 2013 in News


Hump Day.


Remember the 11 people—including Cal State University/San Bernardino kinesiology professor Stephen Kinzey—arrested in 2011 on charges of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine in San Bernardino, Highland, Redlands and Mentone? Know what happened to them? Eight have accepted plea bargains and pleaded guilty to a variety of charges. Here are their details: On Sept. 27, 2011 Wendi Witherell pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance for sale. In October, Elaine Flores, Stephanie Padilla, Chelsea Johnson and Eric Cortez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a crime. On Nov. 21, 2011, Edward Freer pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance for sale, and Christopher Rikerd pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of participating in a criminal street gang. Then in June of this year, Hans Robert Preszler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a crime and was sentenced to one year and four months.


What’s the situation with the remaining three defendants—Stephen Kinzey, Holly Vandergrift Robinson, and Jeremy Disney—who Deputy District Attorney David Tulcan calls the “biggest players?”  “It doesn’t seem like (Kinzey, Robinson and Disney) are interested in what we’re offering,” Tulcan tells the Press-Enterprise. Authorities began investigating the group in 2011 during a federal undercover operation involving outlaw biker clubs in the county; they believe Kinzey is the president of The Devil’s Diciples motorcycle gang. During an August 2011 raid at Kinzey’s East Highlands ranch, officials intercepted a pound of meth that was being delivered. San Bernardino County sheriff’s detectives allege Kinzey, who is on paid leave from Cal State San Bernardino, purchased large amounts of meth from Disney and then distributed it to other defendants who split it into smaller amounts for mid-level and street-level dealers. Prosecutors charged Kinzey with possession of a controlled substance for sale, receiving known stolen property, participating in a criminal street gang, conspiracy, and possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm. No word on whether Kinszey was an easy grader.


TV day.


A car-to-car shooting at the Moreno Valley intersection of Cactus Avenue and Redlands Boulevard around 2pm leaves two abandoned vehicles that had collided, a wounded man nearby and a suspect in the shooting arrested not far away and booked on suspicion of attempted murder. Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a black SUV that may have been involved. Deputies discovered the car-to-car shooting case while responding to a report of a shooting, but so far there has been no motive for the shooting or explanation of the collision.


As the sun rises on the political life of Moreno Valley City Council member Marcelo Co, dissatisfied activists are given the go-ahead by City Clerk Jane Halstead to begin gathering signatures on petitions to recall him from the District 4 office he has held since 2010—increasing to three the number of Moreno Valley council members whose recalls are officially under way. Last week, the clerk approved paperwork that had been turned in to recall Mayor Tom Owings and Councilwoman Victoria Baca. The recallistas have 120 days, or until the end of the day on Dec. 10, to collect 3,244 signatures, which represents 20 percent of the district’s 16,219 registered voters. Late in the afternoon, the sun begins to set on the personal life of Co when he is arrested on eight felony charges related to the suspicion that he has been fraudulently collecting almost $15,000 in government assistance money to care for his mother, including during times she was not living in the United States. “This is entirely separate from any other investigation involving Mr. Co,” DA’s spokesman John Hall tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “This involves the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. Co is listed in that program as a provider for his mother and, therefore, collected IHSS income for her care. It is alleged that it would have been impossible for Co to provide care to his mother during certain periods of time since she was not in the United States during those periods of time while, during those periods of time, he was in the U.S.” Hall’s mention of other investigations is a reference to an ongoing political corruption probe that the FBI and district attorney’s office are conducting in Moreno Valley.


Night falls all over the life of Marcelo Co, who resigns—via his attorney—his seat on the Moreno Valley City Council, effective immediately. The remaining members of the council—two of them under recall, two others expected to be soon—are assigned with appointing a temporary replacement until an election can be held. Meanwhile, the group recalling Co—which had its status approved only 24 hours ago—is done!


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