Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 1, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 8


Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 1, 2019 

Twenty-five Charged in 
Drug Trafficking Ring, 
Including Pasadena Man

Mars 2020 Gets HD Eyes

Academy Awards Show 
Manager Donates Rare Ray 
Bradbury Collection to Library


 Federal authorities last 
week arrested six defendants 
named in a federal 
indictment that alleges 
a large-scale, Mexico-
based narcotics trafficking 
operation smuggled 
hundreds of pounds of 
narcotics into the United 

 The arrests, which started 
Tuesday night and included 
one this morning in New 
York, were made as part 
of Operation Colombian 
Cargo, an investigation led 
by the Drug Enforcement 
Administration that targeted 
the transnational drug-
trafficking and money-
laundering network. 
Over the course of just 
10 months during the 
investigation, authorities 
seized nearly 400 kilograms 
of cocaine, 225 kilograms 
of methamphetamine, 53 
kilograms of fentanyl, 12 
kilograms of heroin, and 
$4.7 million in drug money. 

 Operation Colombian 
Cargo identified Mexican 
nationals who oversaw the 
movement of large quantities 
of narcotics, some of which 
originated in Colombia. 
According to the indictment, 
the narcotics were typically 
smuggled from Mexico 
into the United States by 
drug couriers who often 
used the San Ysidro Port of 
Entry and usually concealed 
the narcotics in hidden 
compartments in vehicles 
or in boxes that appeared 
to contain speakers. The 
couriers then delivered the 
contraband to stash houses 
in the Inland Empire and 
greater Los Angeles area. 
The narcotics were then 
distributed in kilogram 
quantities to customers in 
Los Angeles, Chicago, New 
York and other cities.

 The organization’s drug 
sales generated millions of 
dollars in sales, according 
to the indictment, which 
outlines a money laundering 
scheme that used a group of 
money couriers to collect the 
dollars in the United States 
and deliver pesos to leaders 
of the drug ring in Mexico.

The defendants arrested this 
week are are:

· Jiaze Xia, 23, of Flushing, 
Queens, New York, 
allegedly a key player in 
the organization’s money 
laundering activities, who 
was arrested Thursday 
morning in New York;

· Joshua Donovan Cortez, 
31, of Rowland Heights, who 
allegedly operated a stash 
house, and who was arrested 

· Jose Vargas, 61, of 
Huntington Park, who also 
allegedly operated a stash 
house and was taken into 
custody on Wednesday;

· Remigio Alvarez Herrera, 
49, of Maywood, an alleged 
drug courier who was 
arrested on Wednesday;

· Alejandro Medrano, 20, of 
San Diego, an alleged drug 
courier who was arrested 
Tuesday night as he entered 
the United States through 
the San Ysidro Port of Entry; 

· Wei Chang “Ray” Gong, 30, 
of Chicago, who allegedly 
was part of the money 
laundering operation and 
possessed nearly $600,000 
in cash that was seized by 
authorities in 2016, and who 
was arrested on Wednesday.

 Cortez, Vargas and Herrera 
were arraigned on the 
indictment Wednesday 
afternoon in United States 
District Court in Los 
Angeles, where they entered 
not guilty pleas and were 
ordered to stand trial on 
July 23. Xia, Medrano and 
Gong will be transported 
to Los Angeles and will be 
arraigned upon their arrival.

 The 24-count indictment, 
which was returned by a 
federal grand jury one year 
ago and unsealed Wednesday 
afternoon, charges a total of 
25 defendants.

 Previously in this case, four 
defendants were arrested 
and their cases remain 
pending. They are:

· Rogelio Payan-Palma, 
27, of Mexico City, one of 
the principals of the drug 
trafficking organization who 
worked with other leaders of 
the drug ring in Mexico;

· Guohua Luo, 35, a Chinese 
national who resides in 
Mexico City, another 
principal operative of the 
organization who helped 
coordinate the money 

· Pierre Vincent Fuentes, 
30, of San Diego, an alleged 
drug courier, and

· Jimmy Zhi Qiang Yu, 45, of 
Pasadena, who allegedly was 
a money courier.

 The indictment alleges 
wide-ranging conspiracies 
to distribute narcotics and to 
launder the illicit proceeds 
of the drug trafficking. All 
of the defendants are named 
in at least one of the two 
conspiracy counts, and most 
are named in both counts. 
The indictment also alleges 
that some of the defendants 
participated in a continuing 
criminal enterprise.

 If convicted of the drug-
trafficking conspiracy, the 
17 defendants named in that 
count would face mandatory 
minimum sentences of 10 
years in federal prison and 
maximum sentences of life 
without parole.

 During the investigation, 
authorities in 2016 
seized 236 pounds of 
methamphetamine in Cedar 
City, Utah and 88 kilograms 
of methamphetamine that 
had just entered the United 
States at San Ysidro. Seizures 
in 2017 included 275 
kilograms of cocaine from 
Cortez’s residence across the 
street from a school in Bell, 
21 kilograms of fentanyl 
in Chino, and another 32 
kilograms of fentanyl in Sun 

 Suspects who brought 
hundreds of pounds 
of narcotics into U.S. 
arrested on federal 

 One of the first operations 
the Mars 2020 rover will 
perform after touching 
down on the Red Planet’s 
Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 
2021, will be to raise its 
remote sensing mast (RSM), 
which carries important 
optics and instrumentation.

 In this picture above— 
taken on May 23, 2019, in 
the Spacecraft Assembly 
Facility’s High Bay 1 clean 
room at the Jet Propulsion 
Laboratory in Pasadena, 
California — engineers re-
install the cover to the RSM 
head after integration of two 
Mastcam-Z high-definition 
cameras. Visible below the 
red lens cover is the left 
Mastcam-Z camera (with 
the “Remove Before Flight” 
labels); support equipment 
blocks the right Mastcam-Z 
from view. The RSM and 
its twin cameras will be 
installed on the rover’s deck 
the week of June 3, 2019.

 Mastcam-Z is a 
multispectral, stereoscopic 
imaging instrument that 
will enhance the Mars 2020 
rover’s driving and core-
sampling capabilities. It will 
also enable science team 
members to observe textural, 
mineralogical, structural 
and morphologic details in 
rocks and sediment at any 
location within the rover’s 
field of view, helping them 
piece together the planet’s 
geologic history. 

 “Mastcam-Z will be the first 
Mars color camera that can 
zoom, enabling 3D images at 
unprecedented resolution,” 
said Mastcam-Z Principal 
Investigator Jim Bell of 
Arizona State University in 
Tempe. “With a resolution 
of three-hundredths of an 
inch [0.8 millimeters] in 
front of the rover and less 
than one-and-a-half inches 
[38 millimeters] from over 
330 feet [100 meters] away 
— Mastcam-Z images will 
play a key role in selecting 
the best possible samples to 
return from Jezero Crater.”

 Mastcam Z’s capabilities 
are not the only firsts of 
the mission. Mars 2020 
will be the first spacecraft 
in the history of planetary 
exploration with the ability 
to accurately retarget its 
point of touchdown during 
the landing sequence. And 
the rover carries a sample-
caching system that will 
collect Martian rock and 
soil samples and store them 
on the planet’s surface for 
retrieval and return to Earth 
by subsequent missions.

 Mars 2020 will launch from 
Cape Canaveral Air Force 
Station in Florida in July of 

 JPL is building and will 
manage operations of the 
Mars 2020 rover for the 
NASA Science Mission 
Directorate at the agency’s 
headquarters in Washington. 

 If you want to send your 
name to Mars with NASA’s 
2020 mission, you can do 
so from now until Sept. 30, 
2019. Add your name to the 
list and obtain a souvenir 
boarding pass to Mars here:

 For more information 
about the mission, go to:

 For 44 years, the name of 
Michael Francis could be seen 
in the credits for the Academy 
Awards.TV broadcast. Michael 
is the Manager of Page 
Operations for the Oscars show 
and manages a staff of 40-50. 
Michael performs the talent 
logistics for the show, and he 
and his staff make sure that 
presenters and performers are 
at the right place at the right 

 While his staff consists of 
many veterans of the show who 
have worked with him for more 
than 20 years, Michael prides 
himself in being able to give 
young people their first break 
in show business. Many have 
gone on to wonderful careers, 
like his former assistant Sean 
Barney, who has since produced 
many top TV commercials 
for the likes of Mercedes, 
PetSmart, Coke Zero, Mattel, 
Infiniti, and Lay’s. Another 
former assistant George 
Frangadakis took his abilities in 
prosthetic make-up and is now 
co-owner of Immortal Masks, 
the top mask making company 
in Hollywood. Yet another, 
Talicia Raggs, is the current 
Supervising Producer on 
“NCIS: New Orleans.” Michael 
and his team have also worked 
on no less than 29 Primetime 
Emmy Awards.

 Michael Francis began his 
career in television at ABC 
TV in 1974 as a Page with 
the Guest Relations staff. His 
first show was “Let’s Make A 
Deal”. He went on to work on 
many popular shows of the 
era, including game shows, like 
“Password”, “Family Feud” and 
“Split Second”, as well as the 
“Merv Griffin Show” and “The 
Lawrence Welk Show.” He’s also 
worked on sitcoms like “Happy 
Days”, “Laverne & Shirley”, 
“Mork and Mindy”, and “Taxi,” 
as well as specials like the 1984 
Olympic Gala. His credits also 
include several early “American 
Music Awards.” and of course, 
the Oscars and Emmys. Much 
of Michael’s time at ABC was 
also spent with Eyewitness 

 Before television, Michael 
was a professional musician, 
playing saxophones while still 
in high school in San Jose He 
was fortunate to play with the 
Stan Kenton Orchestra for a 
short time during the summer 
of 1967 until he moved south 
in 1968 to go to USC and 
Cal State LA to get into the 
recording business. Michael 
became a staff composer for the 
Southern California Collegiate 
Neophonic Orchestra, and a 
member of the orchestra from 
1969 to 1971.

 Michael also worked on Hanna 
Barbera Cartoons from 1969-
1971. He considers himself 
fortunate to have had his own 
big band that played around 
LA during the 70s. Up until 
the early 80s, he produced and 
arranged recording sessions 
in Hollywood. But Michael’s 
biggest claim to music fame 
comes from one of his earliest 
compositions. His “Dreams 
of a Psychopath” has been 
performed and recorded by 
school and professional wind 
orchestras around the globe for 
many decades.

 Michael lives close to South 
Pasadena in the El Sereno area 
where he’s resided for the last 
50 years. Back when Michael 
worked on the 49th Academy 
Awards in 1977, he got to know 
Ray Bradbury, who was one 
of the show’s writers. Michael 
recently read about the South 
Pasadena Library development 
of a special collection to honor 
the extraordinary author and 
decided to donate his wonderful 
Bradbury collection to the 
South Pasadena Library where 
it will reside in the facility’s Ray 
Bradbury Conference Room 
Michael Francis has been an 
avid book collector through 
the years, and most of the 
items he’s donated are signed 
by Bradbury. His donations 

Ackermanthology: 65 
Astonishing, Rediscovered Sci-
Fi Shorts

A Chapbook for Burnt-Out 
Priests, Rabbis, and Ministers

Dark Delicacies: Original Tales 
of Terror and the Macabre by 
the World’s Greatest Horror 

Death is a Lonely Business

Dinosaur Tales

Driving Blind

Fahrenheit 451: 40th 
Anniversary Edition

Graven Images: The Best of 
Horror, Fantasy, and Science 
Fiction from the Collection of 
Ronald V. Borst with personal 
reminiscence by Forrest J. 
Ackerman, Clive Barker, Robert 
Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Harlan 
Ellison, and Peter Straub

A Graveyard for Lunatics

Let’s All Kill Constance

The Picasso Summer screenplay 
by Ray Bradbury; DVD

Quicker than the Eye 
-uncorrected proof

Something Wicked This Way 

“Something Wicked This 
Way Comes” --copy of the 

The October Country: The 40th 
Anniversary Edition.

The Toynbee Convector

When Elephants Last in 
the Dooryard Bloomed: 
Celebrations for Almost Any 
Day in the Year

South Pas Summer 
Concerts in the Park

 Sundays (alternate weeks) 
from June 16 to August 
11, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. 
Garfield Park 1000 Park 
Avenue, South Pasadena.

 The Summer Concerts in 
the Park series returns to 
Garfield Park! The season 
begins on Sunday, June 16th, 
and will continue every-
other-Sunday, through 
August 11th, with a new 
performance time of 6:00 - 
8:00 p.m. Join us and your 
community for sweet tunes 
and good times. Food will 
be available for purchase 
or you can bring your own 
picnic. This event is free.

 The City of South Pasadena 
holds its annual Concerts 
in the Park series with 
the support of South 
Pasadena business owners 
and individuals who have 
generously sponsored this 
family event. These festive 
concerts are made possible 
through the generous 
financial support businesses 
and individuals, including:

Aztlan Athletics

Pansky Markle Attorneys at 

SOSOUND Entertainment

LA County Supervisor, 
Kathryn Barger


Escape: The Journey Tribute


 JUNE 30

Louie Cruz Beltran



The Wiseguys Big Band 

(Swing/Big Band)


The Kings of 88

(Classic Piano Rock)


Blue Breeze Band


Mosquito Control Workshop

SPARC Art Gallery Exhibits 

at South Pasadena City Hall


 The South Pasadena Arts 
Council presents Tinkering- 
Three dimensional constructs 
by Valerie Wilcox and 
Childhood 101 - Photographs 
by Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin 
at the SPARC Gallery at South 
Pasadena City Hall.

 Valerie Wilcox, a contemporary 
and mixed media artist, 
describes Tinkering as three-
dimensional constructs. 
They are “a reimagined, 
abstracted understanding of 
our built environment” and 
incorporating “the ideals 
of Wabi Sabi, a traditional 
Japanese aesthetic centered on 
the acceptance and beauty of 
transience and imperfection.” 
Wilcox’s Art pieces often 
feature wood with visible 
paint remnants, sourced from 
torn-down or remodeled 
houses. Based in Los Angeles, 
Wilcox is part of the artist 
collective Durden and Ray. 
Exhibitions of her work have 
been featured at the Torrance 
Art Museum, the San Jose 
Institute of Contemporary Art, 
Irvine Fine Arts Center, Mount 
Saint Mary’s University, Palo 
Alto Art Center, QiPO Art 
Fair in Mexico City, Kölner 
Liste Art Fair in Cologne; 
and in numerous other local 
and international galleries. 
Tinkering will run through 
June 30, in South Pasadena City 

 In Childhood 101, South 
Pasadena-based photographer 
and educator Kathleen Laraia 
McLaughlin who is known 
for her “compassionate and 
curious lens,” documents the 
playful activities of her two 
sons and their friends at their 
South Pasadena home, in their 
backyard, on the road, and 
around town, remembering 
her own treasured outdoor 
playtime as a child. A Fulbright 
Senior Scholars, and recipient 
of the, IREX IARO Grant from 
the National Endowment for 
the Humanities, and a Houston 
Center for Photography 
Fellowship McLaughlin has 
exhibited nationally and 
internationally. Her images are 
in permanent collections at 
the Museum of Photographic 
Art in San Diego, Western 
Virginia Museum of Art, and 
the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. 
Childhood 101 runs through 
June 30, in the 2nd floor SPARC 
Gallery at South Pasadena City 


Regular City Council Meeting

Next meeting June 5

Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday 
of the month, at 7:30 p.m., in the Amedee O. “Dick” 
Richards, Jr., Council Chambers, located at 1424 Mission 

Planning Commission Meeting

June 11 Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Amedee O. "Dick" Richards, Jr. Council Chamber

1424 Mission Street

Staff Liaison: David Bergman, Interim Planning and 
Building Director

Phone (626) 403-7223

Library Board of Trustees Meeting

June 13 Thursday at 7 p.m.

South Pasadena Public Library

Ray Bradbury Conference Room 1100 Oxley Street

Staff Liaison: Steve Fjeldsted, Director of Library, Arts, 
and Culture

Phone: (626) 403-7330

South Pasadena is a member of the San Gabriel Valley 
Mosquito and Vector Control District. We invite these 
experts to present an hour-long interactive workshop on 
the public health issues related to mosquitoes and how to 
address them as a community. Get up close to the most 
dangerous creature on the planet and learn how to effectively 
protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. The 
responsibility for controlling mosquitoes in our beautiful 
city is shared by everyone. Let’s work together to make 
South Pasadena as bite-free as possible! 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: