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Alleged victim angered over officer's possible plea bargain

MODESTO, CA - The woman at the center of an alleged sex assault by a former Modesto police officer worries the charges he faces will be reduced to misdemeanor counts.

The ex-officer, Lee Freddie Gaines, faces charges of oral copulation by force, being armed with a firearm while committing a sexual offense, sexual battery and assault under color of authority.

The alleged victim, 37-year old Sherry Newton, who acknowledges she was working as a prostitute, said Gaines came to a motel for her services, then handcuffed her and sexually assaulted her.

She said she received a call from the Stanislaus District Attorney's Office on Wednesday informing her the charges were going to be reduced to misdemeanor counts, including one for soliciting sex.

Newton said Gaines never bothered to ask her for sex when he put the handcuffs on her and assaulted her.

DEA: Sacramento-area meth trafficking ring busted

SACRAMENTO, CA - Seven men, most of them from Sacramento, were arrested Thursday on allegations they ran a methamphetamine distribution operation.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigation began last August. According to the criminal complaint, DEA agents used a confidential source, undercover buys, court-sanctioned phone taps and surveillance to build their case for arrest warrants for:

  • Armando Flores Vasquez of Sacramento
  • Serafin Magallon of Atwater
  • Jose Maneul Garica of Garcia
  • Luis Fernando Morales of Sacramento
  • Joshua Avila of Rio Linda
  • Miguel Angel Rangel of San Jose
  • Salvador Padilla of Sacramento

Vasquez, Magallon and Rangel were the alleged ring leaders of the operation.

San Jose man arrested in connection with shooting of Ceres woman

San Jose man arrested in connection with shooting of Ceres woman

CERES, Calif. - A San Jose man suspected of shooting a woman in the leg at her Ceres apartment complex on April 16, was arrested on Thursday.

Ceres Police spokeswoman Carissa Higginbotham said the suspected shooter, Isaac Lanford, 33, of San Jose was arrested in Santa Clara County where he will face local charges prior to be transported to Stanislaus County on the warrant for the Ceres shooting.

Lanford and an unidentified woman were both sought after officers responded to a report of a shooting at the apartment complex on the 1600 block of Evans Rd. Upon arrival, officers found a 33-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the leg.

The woman told officers she was in an enclosed yard in the complex when someone fired three shots, one of which hit her in the leg, said Detective Derek Perry.

The woman was then transported to a nearby hospital where she was treated for a non-life threatening injury.

Sheriff: 1 dead, 1 injured in west Modesto shooting

MODESTO - A shooting outside of a birthday party leaves one person dead and another injured Saturday night.

The shooting occurred around 7:30 p.m. in the 400 block of Briggs Ave. Sheriff's deputies received several calls of shots fired from outside of a home where a party was taking place, says Sgt. Anthony Bejaran.

When deputies arrived they learned from witnesses that an SUV had stopped in front of the home and an argument began between the men in the SUV and some people attending the party. The argument escalated and gunfire was exchanged between the men.

Deputies arrived to the home to find that an 18-year-old male attending the party was shot. Though his condition is not know, his injuries are said to be non life-threatening.

2 shot in neighborhood just south of Modesto

MODESTO, CA - A man was killed and a woman injured in a shooting at a neighborhood south of Modesto Friday night.

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies responded to the intersection of Lassen Avenue and Dallas Street in Bret Harte around 9:45 p.m. after getting calls about people fighting on the side of the road. Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said as deputies headed to the scene, they got another call reporting that someone was shot.

At the scene, deputies found two victims - a 58-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man. The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bejaran said detectives worked throughout the night to process the scene and interview witnesses. Investigators said they were not releasing any other information on the case yet.

San Jose man sought in connection with shooting of Ceres woman

San Jose man sought in connection with shooting of Ceres woman

CERES, Calif. - Ceres police are seeking a San Jose man for questioning in connection with the shooting of a woman at a Ceres apartment complex on Tuesday.

Detective Derek Perry of the Ceres Police Dept. said officers arrived at the complex on the 1600 block of Evans Rd. at 3:53 p.m. and found a 33-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the leg.

The woman told officers she was in an enclosed yard in the complex when someone fired three shots, one of which hit her in the leg, said Perry.

Emergency personnel arrived and transported the woman to a nearby hospital where she was treated for a non-life threatening injury.

According to the gunshot victim, Isaac Lanford, 33, and an unnamed white woman with blonde curly hair then fled the area in a maroon Acura Integra, said Perry.

Within minutes, the vehicle was found several blocks away from the site of the shooting, Perry said.

Key witness in Chandra Levy case could be discredited

WASHINGTON (AP) - A judge says a key witness against the man convicted of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy in 2001, his one-time cellmate, could be discredited by new information. 

Levy was from Modesto. 

Judge Gerald Fisher was speaking Thursday at the end of a hearing in the case, one of several recent hearings largely conducted out of earshot of the public and press. That pattern continued Thursday as government lawyers and lawyers for Ingmar Guandique spent about an hour and a half in private conversation.  

At the end, Fisher repeated that the proceedings have been confidential because of security concerns.  

Fisher said prosecutors provided him information in November that could be used to discredit the testimony former Guandique cellmate Armando Morales. Morales testified that Guandique confided he was responsible for Levy's death.