Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


Gang targeted in San Diego sex trafficking charges

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors in San Diego say 24 people are charged with crimes attributed to a street gang that allegedly forced women and girls to work as prostitutes.

Seventeen people were arrested yesterday in California, Arizona and New Jersey under an indictment that targets a gang based in San Diego's North Park area.

The defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy. Prosecutors say they belong to a predominantly black gang called "BMS," which traces its origins to the early 1990s.

Prosecutors say the gang operated a prostitution ring spanning 46 cities in 23 states. The gang allegedly recruited women and girls by promising luxurious lifestyles, branded them with tattoos and bar codes and traded them among themselves.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy calls it "modern-day slavery."


Mayors cleared to get pension reform signatures

((Eds: Corrects that Santa Ana's mayor is not participating.))

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and three other California mayors have been cleared to start gathering signatures to get their proposed statewide pension reform initiative on voter ballots in November.

The San Jose Mercury News says Tuesday's move comes a day after Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a summary for the initiative, which would allow cities across the state to renegotiate public workers' future pension and retirement benefits.

In addition to Reed, other mayors behind the initiative include Bill Kampe of Pacific Grove, Pat Morris of San Bernardino and Tom Tait of Anaheim.

Initiative supporters they expect to announce by the end of January whether they will start collecting more than 800,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot or delay their plans until 2016.


Man accused of 2nd murder, girlfriend was pregnant

COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County prosecutors say a man charged with killing his girlfriend and burying her in a Compton backyard has been charged with a second murder after investigators learned the 18-year-old woman was pregnant.

A felony complaint filed yesterday says 22-year-old Devon Anderson "did unlawfully and with malice aforethought murder a human fetus."

Anderson is scheduled to be arraigned on both charges January 17. He's being held on $1 million bail. It's not clear whether he's hired an attorney and a message left at a possible family home was not immediately returned.

Prosecutors say deputies responding to a Dec. 23 call found freshly dug dirt in the backyard and the woman dead in the ground. Her name hasn't been released.

Prosecutors say Anderson later surrendered at a sheriff's station.


'Brain dead' teen gets feeding and breathing tubes

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead after suffering complications from sleep apnea surgery has been given the feeding and breathing tubes that her family had been trying to obtain for weeks.

The attorney of the girl's family, Christopher Dolan, said doctors had inserted both the gastric tube and tracheostomy tube some time yesterday at the undisclosed facility where she was taken on Sunday.

Dolan said the procedure was a success and that Jahi McMath is getting the treatment that her family believes she should have gotten 28 days ago, when doctors at Children's Hospital Oakland first declared her brain dead.

Jahi underwent tonsil surgery on Dec. 9 and afterward began bleeding heavily before going into cardiac arrest and being declared brain dead on Dec. 12.


2 injured in explosion at Calif. lab

(Information in the following story is from: San Francisco Chronicle,

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two people suffered minor injuries yesterday afternoon in a small explosion at a biotechnology lab in South San Francisco.

The South San Francisco Fire Department says the explosion was reported in a lab at Amgen Inc. on the 1100 block of Veterans Boulevard at about 4:30 p.m.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the explosion did not ignite a fire, but that two people were transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.


Judge mad over tweet in Calif homeless death trial

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California judge is threatening jail time for the person who posted a picture on Twitter of the jury in the trial of two police officers accused of killing a homeless man.

Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg interrupted closing arguments in the case yesterday and vowed to send the person to jail if he discovered his or her identity.

Former Fullerton police Officer Manuel Ramos has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 2011 death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas.

Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

A routine police call escalated into a violent struggle between Thomas and six officers that was caught on surveillance tape.

A third officer awaits trial, and three others weren't charged.


Map: Quake fault runs through Hollywood project

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A draft of a new state earthquake map shows a fault running through the heart of Hollywood and under the proposed site of a development that includes two skyscrapers.

The California Geological Survey issued a preliminary map yesterday showing that a segment of the 10-mile Hollywood Fault system runs through the site of Millennium Hollywood — a million-square-foot development — and right under the nearby Capitol Records building.

State law forbids building some structures atop an active fault but survey head John Parrish says more study is needed to determine the fault's exact proximity to the skyscrapers.

Developer Millennium Hollywood says it had suspected the Hollywood Fault lay in the vicinity but tests found no evidence of an active fault on the site.

However, the developer plans further study.


Electric device likely started deadly Calif. fire

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — An electrical failure in a personal electronic device is likely to have started a fire that killed two women and injured five others in a California home for disabled adults.

Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Steve Concialdi says that the device was in a resident's room. He declined to say what type of device it was.

The early morning blaze killed two women who lived at Mary's Home in Santa Ana.

Five others were injured, including a firefighter and the 71-year-old caretaker.

The group home was licensed for six people but had five residents living there.

The fire caused $375,000 in damage to the home and its contents.

The names of the dead and injured have not yet been released.


Police recover promised pup for cancer victim

(Information in the following story is from: The Press-Enterprise,

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Riverside police say a pug pup destined for the arms of a cancer-stricken child has been recovered after the woman who offered to deliver it decided instead to keep it.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says she hasn't been arrested but could face theft charges.

The female pup, named Mu Shu, was bought in November by a Riverside woman to answer the Christmas wish of an 8-year-old Sacramento girl named Tiffany who has leukemia.

Shawna Hamon, a cancer survivor herself, says an acquaintance offered to deliver it by Christmas but it never arrived.

Police say the woman refused to give it up. Officers went to her Hollywood home Tuesday and found the dog at a neighbor's.

Hamon says she'll fly Mu Shu to Philadelphia, where the girl is having experimental treatment.


San Bernardino votes to consider fire study

(Information in the following story is from: The Sun,

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — The San Bernardino City Council has voted to proceed with a study that will include a recommendation on whether to outsource its fire protection services.

The San Bernardino Sun says the vote Tuesday came despite a letter from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to the councilman behind the proposal saying CalFire isn't interested in taking over the city's services. The letter also denies Councilman Fred Shorett's claim of $12 million in potential savings.

CalFire Director Ken Pimlott wrote that his agency has not provided any cost estimates.

San Bernardino, which filed for bankruptcy last August, is looking for ways to cut costs across the board.

Opponents of outsourcing say short-term savings could mean safety is compromised in the long run.