50 years ago — A San Diego man was scheduled for arraignment today in Los Angeles Federal Court on charges of smuggling 69 illegal aliens across the U.S.-Mexico border in a rental trailer.

Ronald L. Keyes was arrested by a San Bernardino County deputy sheriff Monday evening near Ontario after the “tightly packed” aliens were found in his rented trailer, Henry C. Felchlin, chief patrol inspector of the El Centro Border Patrol station said.

Riverside Border Patrol officers charged that the aliens were being smuggled into the Los Angeles area by Keyes for $200 each, Felchlin said.

If convicted of the felony charges, Keyes faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000 for each man smuggled, Felchlin reported.

The aliens were transported to the federal detention center in El Centro for deportation proceedings.


40 years ago — BOMBAY BREACH — Residents here, in their desperation, are beginning to look around for that legendary Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike.

The county can’t offer much help, Supervisor Tunney Williams explained today.

“If we commit ourselves, the Brawley supervisor said, “and the dike breaks, we might be liable. Technically, too, we can’t send road equipment up there if it’s not working on roads.”

The county, however, can help load dirt. A crew was here this morning.

“Unless they can do it themselves it’s going to be bad,” Williams concluded.

David Pierson, county public works director, was out of town today and couldn’t be contacted. A secretary in the Public Works Department, however, declared, “The county has nothing to do with the Bombay Beach problem. It’s private property and a private dike.”

Pierson Tuesday suggested that the Bombay Beach Community Service District hire an engineer to inspect the seeping dike.

“With what?” BBCSD Director Pearl Stewart asked today.

“We didn’t collect that money to hire an engineer to tell us the dike is weak. We know it is.”

Mrs. Stewart was referring to the $4,441 collected door-to-door by Bombay Beach women. The money was needed to repair broken-down equipment needed to hold back the ever-rising sea water.

The fighting is being done by the local citizenry, estimated at about 450 residents, mostly retired people, Mrs. Stewart said. “Johnny Combs, of Thermal, has helped out by leaving a truck here. He rented two trucks and helped us haul rocks.”

Combs owns some property, which is “high and dry” at Bombay Beach.


30 years ago — MEXICALI — Mexican federal narcotics agents have seized a half ton of marijuana and broken up a trafficking ring that brought the drug from Southern Mexico to Santa Ana through the Tijuana port of entry.

The investigation began Friday with the seizure of 505 kilograms of marijuana hidden inside the fuel tanks of two diesel trucks from the Mexican state of Michoacan. The discovery was made at a checkpoint on a highway between Mexicali and San Luis, said Miguel Angel Torres, spokesman for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office.

“They had to stop to refuel every 100 kilometers because there wasn’t much room in the tanks for fuel (because of all the marijuana),” said Torres.

Torres said traffickers had been bringing the drug to Tijuana where it was later taken across the border in diesel trucks into Southern California.

The drivers, Arturo Perez Torres, 34, and Jose Luis Ortega Lopez, 31, both of Michoacan, reportedly revealed the identities of 11 other men and women who formed a major marijuana trafficking ring. The suspects were arrested at their homes in Tijuana Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Two members of the group, both of Santa Ana, were believed to have transported the drugs through the border.

Torres said the marijuana was brought to Tijuana, and the money was laundered through a Tijuana jewelry store.

Federal agents raided the jewelry store over the weekend and seized more than $80,000.

Torres said the ring had operated for two years and had made deliveries to the United States once every two months.


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