WONDER VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER

A Wonder Valley man was arrested Thursday, accused of attempted murder. About 1:30 a.m., deputies were called to the 80100 block of Mesa Drive in Wonder Valley for an assault with a knife. When deputies arrived, they determined that Jason Halcomb, 30, had knifed the victim numerous times before fleeing the scene. Deputies obtained a search warrant and looked for Halcomb during the night. About 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Jason Halcomb was located and arrested for attempted murder, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, and is being held without bail.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY BRINGS CLOSURES AND OBSERVANCES

The third Monday in February is Presidents’ Day. All government offices, courts, banks, libraries, schools, and post offices will be closed Monday, February 15, in observance of the holiday. Copper Mountain College will be closed Friday, February 12 through Monday, February 15. The college will resume its normal operating hours on Tuesday, February 16. Burrtec will remain open and pick up trash as usual.

JURY TRIALS TO RESUME IN COUNTY COURTS STARTING TUESDAY

New jury trials will resume in San Bernardino County courts effective Tuesday, February 16. California State University intern LaVickie Patterson has information about safety protocols to keep jurors safe while inside the court…

The San Bernardino County court system will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local public health orders, to ensure the safety of all court users. Safety protocols include:

  • Limiting the number of jurors called in at one time;
  • Enforcing social distancing during the entire jury process;
  • Face masks required at all times;
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation;
  • Required health screenings;
  • Fewer trials in session at one time;
  • Use of off-site and on-site alternative locations for jury pooling at every location.

As a reminder, do not come into any court location if you have COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, feel ill, or have been asked to quarantine by a healthcare professional.

A CACHE OF GUNS AND WEAPONS NETS MORE CHARGES FOR A MORONGO VALLEY MAN

A Morongo Valley man, already in custody, has additional charges after a follow-up search revealed significant drugs and weapons at his home. Monday, January 11, deputies conducted a traffic stop on Richard Andrade, 49,  and arrested him for investigation of possession of methamphetamine for sales. Andrade is still in custody at West Valley Detention Center with $500,000 bail. Thursday (February 11) investigators developed information that more illegal narcotics were stored at Andrade’s residence in the 49500 block of Park Avenue. Deputies served a warrant and located a loaded .45-caliber pistol and ammunition and about 5.2 ounces of methamphetamine, along with items consistent with drug sales. Andrade is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition. Richard Andrade will face additional charges of being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm with ammunition, and possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Sheriff’s deputies say that during a search of Richard Andrade’s home in Morongo Valley, they found methamphetamine, a .45-caliber handgun, and drug paraphernalia. Courtesy photo

WE FOLLOW-UP ABSENTEE PROPERTY OWNERS AND ILLEGAL MARIJUANA GROWS

We recently aired a story about the husband of a Cathedral City councilwoman who owned property in Twentynine Palms that was being used by buyers of the property as an illegal marijuana grow. Managing editor Tami Roleff followed up with San Bernardino County about what absentee owners can do when they find their property is being used for illegal purposes…

Aerial view of property at 68076 Winters Rd in Twentynine Palms owned by David Lamb, husband of Cathedral City Councilwoman Rita Lamb. being used for an illegal marijuana grow. Photo: D1 Community Watch

When San Bernardino County Code Enforcement is notified that a property is being used for an illegal marijuana grow, it sends an abatement notice to the property owner to remove the grow and other violations. A spokeswoman told Z107.7 News that owners should notify the tenants that the marijuana grow is a prohibited activity, that the Sheriff’s Department has been notified, and the grow should be removed. If squatters are responsible for the illegal grow, the owner should contact the Sheriff’s Department to schedule a visit to the site. Property owners may need to start eviction proceedings if the tenants won’t leave. The spokeswoman said that rarely is civil forfeiture used for code violations, in which the county seizes the property.

Aerial view of property at 68076 Winters Rd in Twentynine Palms owned by David Lamb, husband of Cathedral City Councilwoman Rita Lamb. being used for an illegal marijuana grow. Photo: D1 Community Watch

Q&A with County spokeswoman Felicia Cardona

Can you confirm if David Lamb has been getting notices of abatement since at least 2018?

The property owner did receive a notice for the 68076 Winters Road address and the Sheriff’s Department conducted an abatement at the property in 2019. The property owner indicated that the tenant was responsible and had left the property after it was abated by the Sheriff.  The property owner has recently visited the property and is working to clean up any violations or nuisance issues.

Code Enforcement has not received any prior complaint on the other parcel – 0633-021-07-0000.

The property owner has demonstrated a proactive approach to removing grows and other violations on property he owns when notified of a violation.

Doesn’t the county seize property that is being used for drugs? (civil forfeiture) 

Code enforcement rarely uses civil forfeiture as a remedy for code violations. We do from time to time use civil proceedings to remedy problems at developed properties through the receivership process but this is on a case-by-case basis.  Cannabis grows typically get resolved within a year or less. 

What does a property owner do if s/he finds that his/her vacant or rental property is being used for illegal activities?

The answer to this varies widely depending on the circumstances. For illegal grows at vacant or residential properties, if an owner becomes aware of that, they should let their tenant know it’s a prohibited activity, they received a notice, the Sheriff’s Department has been notified, and they should expect their tenant to remove the grow. If it’s a squatter, and after confirming there is a trespasser there, they may want to call the area Sheriff’s station to schedule a visit to let the squatter know they need to leave. If it’s an intransigent tenant who won’t leave, they should hire an eviction service. They should also call Code Enforcement if they received a notice, and let us know they are working on it and ask the officer for advice at that point as well. As I noted earlier, we do try to work with property owners who are taking a proactive approach to removing the violation from their property.