REDLANDS - Arrests in the 2011 Cinnamon Creek Apartment shooting that left two teens dead and two wounded and the capture of several suspects in a Mexican "tar" heroin operation were two major highlights for the Redlands Police Deparment in 2012.

Anthony John Legaspi, John David Salazar, Adrian Powers and Jose Lara were arrested in connection with the shooting that left Quinn McCaleb and Andrew Jackson, both 17, dead and two others, including Jordan Howard, wounded. One teen escaped unharmed.

The shooting took place on a playground at the apartment complex on Jan. 5, 2011.

The arrests were hailed as a "big relief" to those who live in the complex and those who had a connection to the victims.

Quinn, Andrew, Jordan and another teen had met at the Redlands apartment complex to discuss plans to go to a friend's house when they were approached by a gunman who opened fire on them at around 7 p.m., police said.

Police found Quinn lying on the corner of Sun Avenue and Post Street, where he died.

Andrew was found in the complex's carport area. He was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died.

Jordan was shot in the eye.

Legaspi, 19, and Powers, 18, were minors at the time of the shooting but were charged as adults when they were arrested in late February.

Along with Salazar, 23, all three are charged with two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and gun and street-gang allegations.


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If convicted, the men could face a sentence of 220 years.

Lara, 29, was charged with accessory to murder and faces up to seven years in prison.

In April, 15 people suspected of dealing Mexican "tar" heroin in the East Valley, including Redlands, Yucaipa and Highland, were arrested.

The suspects relied on coded language to organize plans and obtain and distribute goods from sources in the United States and in Mexico, according to an indictment.

According to authorities, Salvador Gonzalez-Chavez of Fontana operated two drug trafficking organizations in the area that authorities are calling the "Gonzalez-Chavez DTO," and was a "cell head" who worked to oversee the daily operations of the organization - coordinating and receiving supplies and operating and supervising stash house sites.

Gonzalez-Chavez also had a hand in hiring co-conspirators to work for his organization and received heroin orders from street-level dealers, authorities said.

He also purchased the drug from many sources, including Victor Hugo Padron Mendez of Rialto, the indictment said.

Jose Perez Hernandez of San Bernardino also reportedly was a cell head for the Gonzalez-Chavez DTO and delegated operations from the organizations to Gonzalez-Chavez before fleeing to Mexico, authorities said.

From Mexico, Hernandez would communicate with Gonzalez-Chavez to provide contacts for sources of the drug and instruct Gonzalez-Chavez on the operation of the organization, authorities said. He gave orders to send proceeds to himself and other co-conspirators, the indictment said.

Luz Maria Medina-Nieves, Jimmy Nieves and Luz Myriam Nieves-Cruz, all of Fontana, Fabian Jose-Maria Villanueva of San Bernardino and Nereida Cynthia Puente of Hesperia reportedly were stash house operators for the Gonzalez-Chavez DTO, authorities said.

They oversaw the daily operations of the sites where the drug was delivered, stored and packaged and from where heroin was distributed, the indictment said.

Investigators say Alvaro Medina of Pomona, along with Medina-Nieves, Nieves-Cruz and Villanueva, were facilitators for the organization. They reportedly would perform various functions for the Gonzalez-Chavez DTO, including purchasing vehicles, telephones and other equipment.

They also reportedly were responsible for sending money orders to co-conspirators who were in prison or in Mexico, and carried out other instructions from Gonzalez-Chavez to help the organization thrive. 

Many of the defendants were responsible for delivering heroin to the organization's customers, including John James Flores of Redlands, who authorities say was the cell head of what they are calling the J. Flores DTO.

Other charges in the indictment include a defendant bailing members of the Gonzalez-Chavez DTO out of jail and providing legal advice without being a licensed attorney, as well as members of the organization becoming "cell heads" while others were imprisoned.

The 10-month investigation - which began in June after Redlands police said they noticed a growing number of heroin-related arrests and overdoses in 2010 and early 2011 - helped unravel the biggest drug ring in Redlands police history, said Chief Mark Garcia at a news conference.

With assistance from the narcotics unit of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Drug and Enforcement Administration, 20 individuals were identified as members of a heroin "cell" that are suspected of dealing more than half a kilo of heroin a week to the area.

Authorities believe those arrested are part of an organization connected with drug suppliers in Mexico.

Each suspect was charged with a count of conspiring to distribute heroin and possession with the intent to distribute heroin, authorities said.

In late November, the quiet neighborhood near Kimberly Elementary was shaken when a home-invasion robbery led to a precautionary lockdown at the school as authorities combed the area.

The robbery was reported around 2 a.m. in the 500 block of West Crescent Avenue.

The residents of the home were awakened by noises in the house, and when they investigated, they were confronted by an armed man. The robber left through a back door with personal electronics and jewelry from the residence, police said.

Five hours later, police received a call of a suspicious person in a yard on Knoll Road matching the description of the robber. He fled before police arrived, but stolen merchandise was found on the property.

Police corded off the area to search for the suspect aided by the sheriff's helicopter and a bloodhound from the Murrieta Police Department.

As a precaution, Redlands police contacted the school and recommended it be locked down, which was done.

Police found the suspect, Travis Michael Barden, 26, of Beaumont after a dog noticed him hiding in a bush on the front lawn of his owner, Danielle Giudici Wallis.

Police searched the area while Wallis and her 8-year-old daughter hid in the hallway.

"We were a little nervous," Wallis said a day after Barden's arrest on Nov. 27. "My daughter was home sick, and as we saw an officer dart across my front porch, we decided to stay in the hallway until it was over."

Barden was charged with three counts of first-degree burglary and was booked at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino.


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