Sheriff revamps report of drug bust

January 10, 2014
Ian Parkinson

Ian Parkinson

By CCN STAFF

Details of a December drug raid provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department have undergone alterations since Sheriff Ian Parkinson complained in a letter to radio station KVEC about CalCoastNews’ reporting of the incident.

Parkinson’s letter to station general manager Ron Roy said he thought his deputies had received “unfair criticism” as a result of CalCoastNews’ coverage.

On Dec. 4, multiple agencies led by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department served search warrants at 13 locations, which led to the arrests of 15 people. The department released information alleging that Adrian De Martino Morales, 24, and Aldo De Martino Morales, 22, were part owners of the Cinco de Mayo restaurant in San Luis Obispo.

That resulted in a major drop in business, said the son of the owner and the restaurant manager Carlos Jimenez.

Jimenez disagrees with the assertion that the Morales are part owners of the business. He said several of those arrested worked part time at his restaurant and are related to his girlfriend, but they are not owners, and are not listed on any of the restaurant’s documents, as sheriff’s reports alleged.

In a series of emails exchanged following Parkinson’s letter, details of the raid of the restaurant and Carlos Jimenez’s home have repeatedly changed.

According to warrant property receipts, no drugs were found in Jimenez’s home or restaurant. Outside the home, officers said they discovered 9.4 grams of marijuana and 4.7 grams of green pills which belonged to the adult son of his girlfriend, according to property receipts — signed by one investigator and witnessed by a second.

In his Dec. 30 letter to KVEC, Parkinson claims investigators found seven ounces of heroin inside the residence. The department now states no drugs were found inside the home.

On Jan. 8, sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Cippolla said in an email that the investigators had a scale at the scene and weighed the green pills, which he said tested positive for heroin. Cipolla said the investigators at the scene wrote the wrong weight by accident, and should have noted the pills weighed six ounces.

In addition, the investigators forgot to log in what they alleged was an ounce of black tar heroin, Cipolla said.

In Parkinson’s letter to KVEC, he chastised CalCoastNews for referring to the law enforcement personnel who conducted the raid as “deputies.” While the sheriff’s department coordinated the raid and led the investigations, multiple agencies assisted in the morning raids, a common practice in a large sting operation.

Parkinson also claims that no local officers were involved in the raid at the Cinco de Mayo Restaurant. Parkinson wrote that the search warrant was served by a team from “Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

The warrant was requested by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Detective Nick Fontecchio, according to the warrant.

Several local attorneys said the search was based on a state warrant and was required to be served by “sheriff, police officer, or peace officer in San Luis Obispo, Monterey or Riverside counties.” Those attorneys agree, based on Parkinson’s letter, that the warrant was not legally served.

Cipolla fired back on Jan. 8, asserting that a district attorney’s investigator served the warrant on the restaurant, and as such it was properly served.

In the past, sheriff’s officials have threatened reporters or tried to derail CalCoastNews reporting when it questions their actions.

Parkinson, a former San Luis Obispo police officer, announced his candidacy for the sheriff’s post in March 2009 with a press release prepared by the late Rob Bryn, at the time employed as spokesman for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.

Bryn defended his actions and said he sent the e-mail announcement regarding Parkinson’s intentions late at night from his home computer.

“I’m not going to be [Parkinson’s] press secretary nor am I going to be his campaign manager. What I do off duty is my own business, and it’s nobody’s business who I do or do not support in a political situation,” Bryn said, adding, “You need to report this appropriately, because I know how you write. If you want to get into this, I’ll be happy to get into it with you. And we can become the biggest enemies in the United States. I’ll be happy to do that.”

Immediately after that, CalCoastNews ceased receiving press notices or return phone calls from the sheriff’s department, a virtual blackout that lasted several years.

In October 2010, during Parkinson’s first year in office, a CalCoastNews article reported specific details of events leading up to and including the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers.

The following day, Bryn issued a press release for the sheriff’s department, refuting every element of the CalCoastNews article. The Tribune and KSBY echoed Bryn’s version, and a local judge placed a gag order on all those connected with the trial.

Six months later, when the suspects first appeared in court for preliminary hearings, testimony from a variety of witnesses — including sheriff’s investigators — confirmed every single detail of the CalCoastNews article.

KVEC radio talk show host Dave Congalton said on the air that “in 35-plus years of journalism and broadcasting, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

 


82 Comments

  1. LameCommenter says:

    Well, unbooked heroin from this agency, and just now Gibson has formally announced his candidacy for a THIRD term as a Supervisor.

    San Luis Obispo County certainly is challenged in it’s quest for excellence in high office.

    If Gibson wins again, I’m going to need an airsickness bag.

    Elect somebody ELSE !

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 39 Thumb down 9

  2. mkaney says:

    Please Read this even if you hate long posts! You’ll be more informed no matter which side of the issues you are on.

    *I will provide additional documentation for anything upon request to the best of my ability. I try to provide a legitimate and fair rationalization from the perspective of law enforcement, but I don’t agree with it.

    The U.S. government, homeland security, DEA, and local law enforcement are not battling the Sinaloa cartel, they are assisting it! They are eliminating competition for the cartel and in return the government gets assistance fighting the nastier cartels, better control over drug distribution and knowledge of U.S. drug networks, a share of the profits, and most of all… good publicity.

    (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-and-the-sinaloa-cartel-2014-1)

    The local departments are going along with it because they are lead to believe that things such as integrity and “fighting crime” are “more complicated” than the “average” person thinks, making dirty deals necessary. Oh and also because they get 50% of the asset seizures (directly to the department) EVEN if the defendant(s) are found not guilty. Asset seizure occurs under CIVIL law on the federal level, where the burden of proof is less, and asset seizures are handled separately in the courts from the criminal cases. If the locals acted without the feds involved, asset seizure would be covered under California law where they are handled criminally with a higher burden of proof. Furthermore, assets seized under California law are put into the general fund, not given directly to the police departments which seized them.

    http://www.ij.org/part-i-policing-for-profit-2

    The rest is purely my opinion.

    The local police are also able to use this opportunity to jail people that have been chronic problems for them (usually for a variety of other reasons) but have otherwise been able to escape their grasp (e.g. ability to catch them red handed doing something that calls for time). On the flip side, this can also be used to go after people that have information they don’t want getting around, or that they don’t like for some other reason.

    NOBODY is buying that weed coming in off the Panga boats. Most likely they are carrying cocaine and/or heroin and they are allowed to offload the cocaine/heroin before the cops get there. As someone has posted before on here, the timing for this is all handled very carefully with the assistance of expensive high end communications and tracking equipment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  3. gkliberty says:

    “Being paranoid doesn’t mean ‘they’ are not ‘after’ you.

    Again and again, we learn of malfeasance in office and by gov’t employees, yet we continue to elect and re-elect career politicians thinking they know more that the rest of us. Not true. We The People who form the gov’t are are very capable of running it and our own lives with a lot less control by ‘others’.

    American needs to return to true representative govt’ where no one remains in elected office for a lifetime eventually becoming a connection or consultant between the private and the public sectors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

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