Press Releases

Avoid the 20 DUI Grant

Release Date/Time: 10/24/2014 4:28 PM

Incident: Avoid the 20 DUI Grant

Report #: N/A

Date: Friday, 10/24/2014

Time: 4:27 PM

Location: Salinas PD


Drunk and drugged driving remains the number one killer on our roadways, with 802 DUI deaths and nearly 24,000 Alcohol Involved Injuries reported statewide. The 'Avoid the 20” DUI Task Force will be combating this deadly problem through DUI enforcement efforts in Monterey and San Benito Counties. The Salinas Police Department will be administering a recent $200,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for both counties. 'This is the 15th straight year we have received this grant,” said Traffic Sergeant Gerry Ross. 'There is no doubt the grant has saved many lives and prevented hundreds of serious injuries. We plan on continuing to intensify DUI enforcement efforts until the number of deaths is zero.”

The 'Avoid the 20” DUI Task Force is named to send the message that if you don't drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the 20 participating law enforcement agencies in the county. The grant activities will specifically target those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving. Officers from law enforcement agencies across the county will jointly staff DUI/Driver License Checkpoints and roving DUI saturation patrols. Additionally, funding will target the ‘worst of the worst' repeat DUI offenders with Warrant/Probation Sweeps and Court Sting Enforcement Operations focusing on DUI offenders with suspend licenses who drive from court hearings after being ordered not to drive by a judge. 'California's roadways are still among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. 'But to meet future mobility, safety, and sustainability objectives, we must create safer roadways for all users. The 'Avoid the 20” DUI Task Force will be using these and other resources to reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”

Motorists can expect to see special DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI Problems. Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Agencies participating in the ‘Avoid the 20' taskforce include: The Salinas Police Department, The Monterey County Sheriff's Office, The San Benito County Sheriff's Office, The Hollister Police Department, The Monterey Police Department, The Marina Police Department, The Seaside Police Department, The Carmel Police Department, The Pacific Grove Police Department, The Sand City Police Department, The Del Rey Oaks Police Department, The Monterey Airport Police, The Cal State University of Monterey Bay Police, The Presidio of Monterey Police, The Gonzales Police Department, The Soledad Police Department, The Greenfield Police Department, The King City Police Department, The Monterey Office of the California Highway Patrol, and The King City Office of the California Highway Patrol.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

4 Location Search Warrant


Release Date/Time: 10/23/2014 3:49 PM

Incident: 4 Location Search Warrant

Report #: 14-101217/1243/

Date: Thursday, 10/23/2014

Time: 1:37 PM

Location: Multiple in Salinas

Today members of the Salinas Police Departments Violence Suppression Unit completed a long term narcotics investigation with the service of multiple search warrants.  The violence suppression unit was assisted by members of the Monterey County STING taskforce, Salinas Police Detectives and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The search warrants were served today at the following locations:

  1. 746 Madeira Circle

  2. 1269 Hilltop Dr

  3. 1891 Cherokee Dr

  4. 10 Lincoln Ave #215

Officers confiscated a total of 5 guns, nearly one and one half pounds of methamphetamine, 16 marijuana plants, 24 grams of heroin, cocaine and nearly $7,000 in cash. Jorge Gasca (48), was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics for sale and weapons charges. Sarina Frias (41) and Vincenta Flores (24) were both arrested and charged with possession of narcotics. Paul Bruno (62) was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics for sale and weapons charges. All of the above subjects were transported and booked at the Monterey County Jail.




Release Authorized by: James Arensdorf

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Possession of Assault Rifle

Release Date/Time: 10/22/2014 12:24 PM

Incident: Possession of Assault Rifle

Report #: 14-101152

Date: Wednesday, 10/22/2014

Time: 7:08 AM

Location: 1300 block of Wiren Ave

Officers were called to a disturbance in the 1300 block of Wiren Ave. They contacted Christian Coronel (19) who is a known gang member and convicted felon on probation. Coronel was wanted for a previous incident that occurred on 10/19/14 in which he brandished a rifle at a victim. Inside Coronel's car, officers discovered a fully loaded AK-47 assault rifle. Coronel was booked into Monterey County Jail for multiple charges including Possession of Assault Weapon by Gang Member, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon and Possession of Ammunition by Convicted Felon.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon Bryan

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Armed Standoff Ends With Suspect In Custody, Victims Safe

Release Date/Time: 10/21/2014 8:34 PM

Incident: Armed Standoff Ends With Suspect In Custody, Victims Safe

Date: Tuesday, 10/21/2014

Time: 2:08 PM

Location: 200 block of Dennis Ave.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon R. Bryan, Commander

Telephone: 831-758-7250

Ramon Vargas (63) went to his daughter s home. He was under the influence of narcotics and alcohol. A physical altercation occurred between Vargas and his daughter. The victim suffered superficial injuries after being struck by Vargas using a large metal pipe. All occupants of the house were able to escape and called the police.

Vargas armed himself with an eight-inch kitchen knife, locked himself inside the home and threatened to commit suicide. The Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) responded, along with crisis intervention team (CIT) members from Monterey County Behavioral Health.

This is standard protocol whenever time and circumstances permit. Officers negotiated with Vargas for two  hours.

Throughout the stand-off, Vargas pleaded for officers to shoot him and said he would "die today." He repeatedly poked himself in the abdomen with the knife and became increasingly agitated. He began challenging officers to fight and taunting them to shoot him.

Ultimately, Vargas exited the home while still armed with the knife. He challenged one of the HNT officers to fight; the officer told him he was unarmed. Vargas threw the knife to the ground and then prepared to attack, but two officers armed with 40-mm, nonlethal projectile weapons fired and struck Vargas just above the knee with rubberized impact rounds. Vargas fell to the ground uninjured and was taken into custody without further incident.

Vargas was transported to Natividad Medical Center for a jail check and then lodged at Monterey County Jail.

Missing Person-UPDATE clarification

To clarify a previous update on this case; Yesterday at approximately 1645 hrs, an Officer located missing person Robin Tully (63) as he was walking on E. Alisal near Holiday St.  Mr. Tully was in good condition, other than having not eaten, and was brought back to the care facility he had walked away from.

Missing Person - At Risk

Robin Tully (63) left the Colonial Manor Residential facility at 7:15am this morning and has not been seen or heard from since. Mr. Tully suffers from severe mental health issues, does not have any of his medications with him and has no money or access to transportation. According to his caregiver, Mr. Tully will not be able to find his way back to the facility. Salinas Police officers and staff from the facility have been searching for Mr. Tully but are asking for the public's help. If Mr. Tully is seen, please call the Salinas Police Department immediately. 831-758-7321. UPDATE: Mr. Tully has been located.  

Previously Convicted Felon w/Firearm, Gang Member w/ Firearm, Possession of Marijuana

Release Date/Time: 10/15/2014 7:43 PM

Incident: Previously Convicted Felon w/Firearm, Gang Member w/ Firearm, Possession of Marijuana

Report #: 14-100818

Date: Wednesday, 10/15/2014

Time: 4:22 PM

Location: N. Main and Casentini

Officers stopped Mathew Russell (33) for traffic violations. When they approached the vehicle they could smell marijuana in the vehicle. Russell had an open folding knife on the driver's side floorboard that he bagan to reach for. He was removed from the vehicle and detained. During a search of the vehicle officers located a loaded  22 cal revolver under the console shift lever. They also located about 1/2 ounce of marijuana under the backseat. Russel is a previously convicted felon and active gang member. Russel was booked into the Monterey County Jail for felon in possession of a firearm, gang member in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana.

Release Authorized by: Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Gang member / felon in possession of firearm

Release Date/Time: 10/14/2014 9:46 PM

Incident: Gang member in possession of gun

Report #: 14-100775

Date: Tuesday, 10/14/2014

Time: 8:33 PM

Location: 115 E. Lake St.

Members of the Salinas Police Department's Violence Suppression Unit conducted a vehicle stop for vehicle code violations.  The driver was Frank Campos (35 - an active gang member and convicted felon).  A loaded handgun was located in his pocket.  He was lodged in county jail for numerous firearm and gang charges.

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Gray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Felon in possession of a firearm

Release Date/Time: 10/14/2014 9:31 PM

Incident: Felon in possession of a firearm

Report #: 14-100771

Date: Tuesday, 10/14/2014

Time: 6:50 PM

Location: N. Main St / Madrid St.

Members of the Salinas Police Department's Violence Suppression Unit stopped a vehicle for vehicle code violations.  The driver Selina Torrez (28) was unlicensed and had 2 misdemeanor warrants. The passenger was Wilberto Cervantes (30 - a gang associate and convicted felon).  A search of the vehicle resulted in officers locating a loaded sawed off shotgun that was concealed.  Torrez and Cervantes were both lodged in county jail for numerous charges related to the illegal gun possession. 

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Gray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Traffic Collision / Injured Officer

Release Date/Time: 10/14/2014 2:27 AM

Incident: Traffic Collision / Injured Officer

Date: Monday, 10/13/2014

Time: 7:47 PM

Location: Boronda Rd. / San Juan Grade Rd

At approximately 1947 hours a Salinas Police Officer was stopped for a red signal in the southbound #2 lane of San Juan Grade Rd at the intersection of E. Boronda Rd. He and other traffic received the green signal and proceeded into the intersection. At that time a 2000 Ford F250 Super Duty pick up ran the red signal eastbound on E. Boronda, striking both the marked patrol unit and another vehicle, traveling in the #1 lane) simultaneously. The Officer was transported via Ambulance to a local hospital with a complaint of pain to the neck and back. The driver of the other victim vehicle was also transported via Ambulance with cuts to his hands and forehead and a complaint of abdomen pain. A passenger in the Ford F250 had complaint of pain to her arm and  knee, but declined medical attention. The collision caused major/total damage to the front end of the patrol car and the second vehicle sustained major/total damage to the right side, which was pushed into the passenger compartment nearly 24". Both the officer and the driver of the other vehicle were treated and released. 

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander

Telephone: (831) 758-7250