Crime

Monday, July 13, 2020

Two Heroin Busts in Southern Humboldt

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 9:20 PM

Law enforcement searching a vehicle in the Benbow area. - COURTESY OF BRITNEY HARRISON
  • Courtesy of Britney Harrison
  • Law enforcement searching a vehicle in the Benbow area.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force pulled over two vehicles in Southern Humboldt this evening. In one, they located 6 pounds of heroin, and in the other, 2.5 pounds of heroin.

At approximately 5:10 p.m., law enforcement pulled over a silver vehicle in the area of Benbow. The trunk of the vehicle was opened and searched.

Humboldt County Sheriff's Sgt. Jesse Taylor confirmed that the Drug Task Force (DTF) stopped the vehicle, and said approximately 6 pounds of heroin were located inside.

Around the same time, the DTF stopped another vehicle, a gold four-door sedan, near the Miranda Bridge, Taylor said. In that vehicle, the task force located a large amount of narcotics.

"Roughly 2.5 pounds of heroin seized thus far," Taylor said. According to a witness, one woman was arrested at the Miranda bridge.

The Miranda bridge location has seen a number of vehicles stopped for various criminal activities. Just over a month ago, a stolen Corvette containing a ghillie suit was pulled over in the vicinity.

Taylor said the DTF would issue a press release with more details tomorrow.
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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Attorney: Nelson's Character Led to His Release After Blue Lake Murder Arrest

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 5:56 PM

Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. looks on as his attorney reads a statement on his behalf. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. looks on as his attorney reads a statement on his behalf.


Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. — a 39-year-old gas station clerk from Eureka — has had quite a week.

A man came to rob the gas station where he worked.

He shot and killed that man, prompting his arrest on suspicion of murder, possessing stolen property and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was booked into Humboldt County Correctional facility without bail, and quarantined there for five days.


Then yesterday, in a stunning reversal, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s decided no charges would be filed in the case. Nelson walked free, and joined his partner Cynthia Shelton and their 14-year-old daughter for a quiet night at home.

“We are just chilling,” Shelton wrote on Facebook.

Although Nelson won’t be granting interviews, local defense attorney Russell Clanton spoke on his behalf today.

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Update: Suspicious Package on Humboldt Hill Revealed to be Vinyl Records (VIDEO)

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 3:14 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy wearing safety gear to examine the package. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy wearing safety gear to examine the package.
Update: HCSO Public Information Officer Samantha Karges describes the incident in a video. She says that earlier today, HCSO responded to a call about two suspicious packages, and after checking with residents near where the packages were found and confirming that they didn't belong to them, the HCSO EOD team was called.

The EOD robot was under maintenance, so a deputy wore a bomb suit to examine that package that was determined to be vinyl records. 

Read the full Humboldt County Sheriff's Office press release below.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

County Reminds Multi-Household Gatherings are Illegal, Promises Action if Planned Weddings Proceed

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 5:27 PM

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich.
Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich is reminding local residents — including those planning to host or attend weddings in the near future — that multi-household gatherings are not permitted under state or local health orders.

“We all understand the desire to celebrate occasions such as weddings with family and friends," Frankovich said in a press release. "However, just as high school seniors had to sacrifice traditional graduation ceremonies, these types of large gatherings simply cannot occur. We are in a pandemic and the potential for not only a large number of guests to become infected but for these individuals to then expose many more people in our community, is enormous. There is simply no way for Public Health to conduct timely contact investigations and limit disease spread when hundreds of people are exposed at one time.”

According to the press release, the Office of Emergency Services has received numerous contacts from guests invited to attend ceremonies in Petrolia and Ferndale over the next two weekends. County code enforcement officers have reached out to family members involved with both events to remind them "that these holding these gatherings is both illegal and dangerous," according to the release.

The release warns enforcement actions will be taken if the events proceed.

“I am hopeful that civic-minded residents of Humboldt will reconsider offering and attending such events until it is possible to hold them without violating the law and endangering the safety of the guests and the residents of Humboldt County,” Frankovich said in the release.

Read the full press release copied below:

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DA Declines to File Charges in Blue Lake Gas Station Killing

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 4:34 PM

Patriot Gas Station - ASHLEY HARRELL
  • Ashley Harrell
  • Patriot Gas Station

Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming has declined to prosecute Patriot Gas Station clerk Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. for killing the man who allegedly robbed the business on the night of July 2, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

“The employee has stated he acted in self-defense,” the press release states. “No witness statements or other evidence contradict that assertion.”

Nelson told investigators that he possessed a reportedly stolen gun in response to a prior robbery at the gas station, according to the press release.  Although Nelson was arrested by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of murder, possessing stolen property and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm — and has been held in the county jail without bail since July 3 — today he will be released.

“Oh, hell yeah!” said Cynthia Shelton, Nelson’s partner, reached by cell phone minutes after the DA’s decision was announced. Shelton and the couple’s 14-year-old daughter had stationed themselves in front of the jail, and were eagerly awaiting Nelson’s release from custody.

Also reached by phone, Nelson’s attorney Russell Clanton said he was working on getting Nelson out of custody, and then planned to take the rest of the day off to celebrate.

“It’s a really great moment,” Clanton said.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

T-S: Protestors Gather in Eureka to Support Transgender Teen Assaulted by Neighbor

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 4:10 PM

Cora Woodard and their supporters stand up against hate outside the Humboldt County courthouse. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Cora Woodard and their supporters stand up against hate outside the Humboldt County courthouse.
Around noon Monday, a group of roughly 30 people showed up at the Humboldt County courthouse wielding signs in support of Fortuna transgender teen Cora Woodard, the Times-Standard reported.

Woodard, a 16-year-old who is transitioning from male to female and who uses theu/them pronouns, told the T-S they were attacked by a neighbor on June 30. Woodard said they were playing Frisbee in the front yard with younger siblings when the neighbor approached and punched them in the arm, reportedly saying: "You disgust me. You were born a man, not a woman."

Woodard reported the incident as a hate crime to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and said they intend to press charges, the Times-Standard reported. Meanwhile, supporters created a Facebook group called "Stand with Cora against hate!" It quickly grew to more than 700 members.

Word of Monday's protest spread over social media, and Woodard told the NCJ they were pleased with event. "I felt good!" they said in a Facebook message. "Supported by my community and more confident about who I am." 
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Friday, July 3, 2020

Gas Station Attendant Arrested for Fatally Shooting Robbery Suspect

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 3:31 PM

Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept
  • Mark Anthony Nelson Jr.
Last night in Blue Lake at around 9:45 p.m., an attendant allegedly shot a man who was attempting to rob the Patriot Gas Station, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.


The alleged robber — who has yet to be identified — died from a gunshot wound at the scene. The gas station attendant — Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. — was later arrested on suspicion of murder.


The incident began at around 9:40 p.m., police said, when a man allegedly brandishing a firearm approached Nelson and a patron outside of the gas station. As Nelson and the customer fled, according to the press release, the alleged robber entered the store and stole cash and other items.


"Investigators believe that as the man exited the business, the employee, later identified as 39-year-old Mark Anthony Nelson Jr., approached the subject and shot him," police said. "A stolen firearm believed to be associated with the homicide was recovered at the scene."

Nelson was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of murder, possessing stolen property and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Sheriff's Office. He is being held without bail pending arraignment and the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office will review the case and decide what charges — if any — are appropriate.

The NCJ reached out to the Sheriff's Office to ask why the shooting was not considered self defense and spokesperson Samantha Karges said the investigators considered all available evidence in making their charging requests, though she declined to get into details of the investigation.

"Based upon evidence, surveillance footage and statements collected on scene, including from Mr. Nelson himself, investigators have requested the P.C. 187 charge," she wrote in an email to the Journal, referencing the penal code section for murder. "However this case, as with all cases, is being forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review and filing of charges. The DA’s Office will review the case and if they feel that a murder charge is not substantiated, then the office could decide not to file on that charge."

California Penal Code 198.5, known as the "Castle Doctrine," allows someone to use force — even deadly force, in some instances — to protect their home or place of business from immediate threat and there is no duty to retreat. However, the law does not allow someone to retreat to a place of safety and then use deadly force, or to use a level of force disproportionate to the immediate threat.


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More Than 10K Pounds of 'Dangerous Fireworks' Seized in Eureka

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2020 at 10:23 AM

Officers seize fireworks from Eureka home. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Officers seize fireworks from Eureka home.
CalFire reported this morning that in a joint operation with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office it seized more than 10,000 pounds of "dangerous fireworks" from a residence on Alpha Street in Eureka.

Zackery Edward Brown, 34, of Eureka, was arrested at the scene and booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of possessing dangerous fireworks, selling or delivering fireworks without a permit.

According to a press release, the fireworks will be transferred to the California State Fire Marshal to be safely destroyed. CalFire also reminds residents that only fireworks bearing the "Safe and Sane" logo are legal to possess in California.

See CalFire's full press release here.
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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Homicide Reported in Blue Lake

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 10:24 PM

Bystanders watch as police process the crime scene. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Bystanders watch as police process the crime scene.
Someone was shot and killed tonight during a reported armed robbery at a gas station in the 200 block of Blue Lake Boulevard at about 9:45, according to scanner traffic.

A dispatcher sent law enforcement and medical personnel to the scene after a report of an armed robbery that left one person with a gunshot wound, and later reported CPR in progress at 9:55 p.m.

Shortly after 10 p.m., one of the first responders told the dispatcher, "One confirmed 1144," the code for deceased, and then clarified that the person who died was believed to be a victim and not a "suspect."

The suspect is described as a white male adult who fled the scene, possibly in a white pickup, according to the scanner traffic. Blue Lake Boulevard is currently closed, according to a resident of the area.

The same gas station was the scene of another armed robbery June 14, and another last September. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office issued a statement after 11 p.m. indicating "no suspect information is available at this time" and that it will release additional information when "available and appropriate."

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BOLO for Suspect in Armed Robbery of Trinidad Business

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 10:29 AM

Security footage of the suspect - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Security footage of the suspect
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is requesting help locating a suspect connected with the armed robbery of a Trinidad business last night. The unknown male suspect allegedly pointed a handgun at two employees before taking cash and physically assaulting the employees. He is suspected to have later fled southbound on U.S. Highway 101 in a newer model white Chevy truck.

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