Christopher Gillen, 25, of Pacific Beach, pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to money-laundering charges as part of a scheme to mail packages of marijuana that were mailed to customers after the drug was cultivated in a Midway-area warehouse.
Gillen asked for immediate sentencing and received credit for 11 days in jail with three years probation from San Diego Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring. Deputy District Attorney Shanish Aloor said Gillen played a minor role in the scheme, and the money-laundering count was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Awaiting sentencing is the defendant’s brother, Kyle Thomas Gillen, 26, of Pacific Beach, who is believed to be the ringleader. Kyle Gillen and three others have pleaded guilty to mailing packages of marijuana and money laundering and will be sentenced Jan. 14.
The marijuana was grown in a warehouse in the Midway area. It was raided May 29 by agents from the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Unit. About 300 marijuana plants were discovered. All defendants have posted bond since their arrests and remain free.
— Neal Putnam
Woman carjacked during Internet rendezvous
Police are probing an alleged carjacking involving a 19-year-old woman who reportedly became friends with a male suspect.
Reportedly, the pair decided to meet in the Ocean Beach area in the 4200 block of Voltaire Street on Dec. 11, shortly after 3:30 a.m.
The woman apparently got into the man’s car, where he produced a handgun and ordered the woman out, roving to the woman’s car and driving away with it.
He was described as a white man, 20 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a thin build.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
Man gets 34 years in Midway, other heists
A prison term of 34 years and four months was handed down Dec. 16 for an armed robber of three 7-Eleven stores on Midway Drive and in Torrey Pines and 13 other stores elsewhere.
The attorney for Luis Alonso Cruz, 25, asked for the sentence he received while the prosecutor sought an 89-year prison term before San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide.
Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said Cruz pulled a gun on 13 people in small businesses in a robbery spree in 2012 and asked for consecutive terms. Three other victims were robbed without a gun pointed at them.
Eyherabide fined Cruz more than $11,000. She specifically ordered Cruz to pay $132 to the 7-Eleven store at 13835 Mango Drive in Torrey Pines and $170 and $100 each to the 7-Eleven stores on Midway Drive that were robbed in August 2012. She ordered Cruz to pay nearly $3,000 to the other stores that were held up.
Cruz pleaded guilty Aug. 27 to 16 counts of robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Co-defendant, Alex Sanchez, 24, was sentenced Sept. 10 to 25 years in prison for 13 of the same robberies. The only gunfire was by Sanchez who shot into a wall in one 7-Eleven store in Clairemont.
— Neal Putnam