A Mess in Maywood

A blinding fire at a metal scrap yard forced hundreds of evacuations, sparked a public health emergency, and exposed a statewide problem.

A blinding fire at Panda International Trading Co., a metal scrap yard, forced hundreds of residents living right behind the business to evacuate and prompted a public health emergency.

What the neighbors did not know was that two businesses operating at the site had already been cited for health, safety and environmental violations — most recently just one week before the terrifying blaze. The fire, the response to it and the facility’s prior missteps expose a broken system of regulation of similar businesses across the state.

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The Shootout

Officer James Zboravan lay facedown on the floor of a dentist’s office bleeding from wounds left in his body by armor-piercing bullets.

Officer James Zboravan lay facedown on the floor of a dentist’s office as the overwhelmed doctor frantically improvised ways to stem the bleeding from wounds left in his body by armor-piercing bullets.

Outside the office building, on the morning of Feb. 28, 1997, the world watched the LAPD engaged in one of the most notorious shootouts in the city’s history.

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The Sweetheart Scammer

Maria Hendricks traded in her Four Seasons bungalow for a jail cell when deputies investigating fraud walked into her suite and ordered her out of the bedroom at gunpoint.

Maria Hendricks traded in her $7,000-a-night bungalow at the Four Seasons Resort in Santa Barbara for a jail cell April 28 when deputies investigating a fraud report walked into her suite and ordered her out of the bedroom at gunpoint.

Hendricks, wearing only a shirt, complied and walked toward deputies with her hands in the air. She gave deputies a driver’s license that had her picture, but a different name and a birth date about 20 years older.
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Undercover Cops at OccupyLA

Undercover police officers infiltrated Occupy LA’s tent city to spy on people they suspected of stockpiling human waste and crude weapons.

Undercover police officers infiltrated Occupy LA’s tent city last month to spy on people they suspected of stockpiling human waste and crude weapons for resisting an eventual eviction, police and city government sources said.

Authorities also used security cameras mounted outside City Hall, where the camp was located, and monitored publicly available Internet chatter and video on social-networking sites such as Twitter, sources said.

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The Starbucks Biker War

A turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle gang that erupted outside a California Starbucks shop left several men dead, wounded or missing in three states, stirring fears of more bloodshed.

A turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle gang that erupted outside a California Starbucks shop last year has left several men dead, wounded or missing in three states, stirring fears of more bloodshed.

Ranked by law enforcement as the most severe clash of two California-based biker groups in nearly a decade, the spate of violence turned deadly last month when it spilled into Nevada with a brawl and shooting among members of the Hells Angels and Vagos motorcycle clubs.

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Armenian Power

A little-known gang called Armenian Power rose from the streets in East Hollywood to an international syndicate that orchestrated multimillion-dollar credit card fraud and identity theft schemes that impacted the lives of hundreds of people across the country.

In February, U.S. prosecutors announced they had broken up the largest racketeering conspiracy in the U.S. and charged nearly 100 alleged gangsters and their associates with kidnapping, extortion, bank fraud, and narcotics trafficking.

The case itself was surprising for its size and the scale of the fraud. Even more surprising to most people were the perpetrators — a little-known gang called Armenian Power that had risen from the streets in East Hollywood to an international syndicate that could orchestrate multimillion-dollar credit card fraud and identity theft schemes that impacted the lives of hundreds of people across the country.

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