Tule River is still closed

Sheriff Boudreaux would like to remind the public that the Tule River is still closed, and that precaution should be used at all times when around swift moving water.

After daily searches by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), the teenage boy’s body that has been missing since Mother’s Day after going under water at the Tule River was recovered on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, TCSO’s Swiftwater Dive Rescue personnel conducted a planned search and recovery operation to find and recover the missing teen in the Tule River. With the assistance of California Office of Emergency Services cadaver K9’s, the search was successful and his body was recovered at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The victim, a 16 year-old boy from Strathmore, went missing on May 12. He was last seen in the area between Springville and Camp Nelson above Coffee Camp in a location commonly known as “The Stairs”. His body was recovered downstream about half a mile.

Search efforts had been hampered by high water flows from the beginning.

“We searched by air and analyzed water flows daily since the boy went missing,” said Lt. Kemmerling. “We purposefully picked [Wednesday] as the best opportunity for a successful recovery mission and all the stars aligned. With some great work by our personnel, the reduced flow and assistance of the K-9’s, we were able to bring closure to the

teen’s family.”

Lt. Kevin Kemmerling notified the boy’s family in person. Sheriff Boudreaux expressed sympathy for the family and appreciation for his personnel.

“My heart breaks for this family,” said Boudreaux. “I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team. They are the best in the state and continually risk their lives to bring closure to families time and time again.”

Sheriff Boudreaux wants to remind everyone that the local waterways still remain VERY dangerous. The water is still extremely cold and moving incredibly fast. Please be smart and stay away from the rivers. The Tule River remains closed due to

dangerous conditions.

One arrested during marijuana bust in Lindsay

Sheriff’s detectives with the Tulare Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team (TAGNET) and the TAGNET Majors Marijuana Investigation Team and Narcotics Unit along with the Code Enforcement Unit at the Resource Management Agency served an abatement search warrant Tuesday, June 25, in the Lindsay area for illegal marijuana grows at several residences.

In all, detectives eradicated approximately 2,584 marijuana plants which were later destroyed.

At one of the residences on the 24000 block of Avenue 236, detectives located six rifles and two handguns which were in possession by the suspect, Robert Edwards, 55. At the time, he was out on bail on a non-related case.

Edwards was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance while in possession of firearms. Also, detectives located 19 grams of methamphetamine along with a soft body armor. Edwards was arrested and booked at the Adult Pre-Trial Facility for the following offenses: Illegal marijuana cultivation, possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for sales, maintaining a residence for narcotics use, possession of firearms while under the influence of a controlled substance, and committing a felony offense while out on bail.

This case is still under investigation and anyone with more information regarding this case and any illegal marijuana cultivation is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff*s Office at (559) 733-6218 or anonymously at tcso@tipnow.com or by text or voicemail at (559) 725-4194.

One apprehended after resisting arrest 

On Tuesday, June 25, at approximately 9:40 a.m., Porterville Police Officers responded to the 700 Block of West Morton Avenue regarding a disturbance. Information received indicated that Michael Carrillo was possibly under the influence of a controlled substance and was causing a disturbance with family members. Officers were also advised that Carrillo had three active arrest warrants.

When officers arrived on scene they contacted Carrillo near the roadway as he tried to leave the area. As officers attempted to arrest Carrillo for the active warrants, he actively resisted. Officers physically subdued Carrillo and arrested him without further incident. During his arrest, Carrillo also made threats to the arresting officer.

As a result of the arrest, Carrillo sustained minor injuries and was medically cleared at a local hospital before being booked into the Tulare County Sheriff’s Facility where he is currently being held in lieu of $175,000 bail. The involved officers were not injured.

Visalia man convicted of smash and grab at mall

On Wednesday, June 19, in Department 5 of the Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, a jury found Jason Hounihan, age 42, guilty of burglarizing a Visalia jewelry store. Hounihan was convicted of one count of burglary and two counts of vandalism causing over $400 in damage. Each count is a felony. 

Hounihan has a prior strike for assault with a firearm in 1997 and convictions for felony weapons possession in 1999, two felony drug convictions in 2008, burglary in 2014, resisting an officer in 2014, and bringing drugs into the jail in 2018. In February of 2019, Hounihan was convicted of misdemeanor possession of burglary tools and theft.

At 6:20 a.m. on March 24, video surveillance captured Hounihan approaching the south entrance of the Visalia Mall. Hounihan produced a small sledgehammer and proceeded to shatter the glass of one of the doors. Kicking out the remaining glass, Hounihan entered the mall and went to Kay Jewelers. At the store, Hounihan used the hammer to bend the security gate and smash a nearby display case. Hounihan was able to grab 19 items and flee the mall. The value of the items was determined to be over $10,000.

Three days later, Visalia Police Department officers received an anonymous tip on Hounihan’s location. He was arrested at Jefferson Park in Visalia. Hounihan was identified by officers using video surveillance, as well as his shoes which could also be seen on video.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 17, in Superior Court where Hounihan faces up to 6 years and 8 months in prison. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Grigor Momjyan and Sean Sangree and was investigated by the Visalia Police Department.

Cutler gang member sentenced to life without parole for 2015 murder

On Monday, June 24, in Department 6 of the Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, Judge Gary Paden sentenced Pedro Nunez, age 27, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder. On September 24, 2018, a jury found Nunez guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance that the crime was committed for the benefit of a street gang, along with special allegations that the principal used a gun and that the crime was an act of street terrorism. Nunez was also convicted of criminal street gang conspiracy.

On July 30, 2015, Nunez’s co-defendant, gang member Fernando Prado, shot and killed a 24-year-old man in front of his Orosi home. Nunez served as the getaway driver and was arrested on August 17, 2015.

Prado pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, gun, and gang crimes on August 10, 2017, and was sentenced to life in prison.

The case was investigated by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

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