At the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce Marina Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday, January 16th, at Tony P’s restaurant in Marina del Rey, there was discussion of various Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department activities.

Among these was the arrest of a suspect in Marina del Rey’s G Basin by officers of the Marina Sheriff’s Station for alleged distribution of “chemical-based narcotics” (involving all types of drugs).

The suspect was a parolee-at-large who had been deported several times and had tried to bail out under an alias, said Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Tony Gonzalez, who is now in charge of the Detective Investigation Division at the Marina Station.

Marina Sheriff’s Station Capt. Mary Campbell said that former Detective Sgt. Jeff Olander had decided to pursue other areas of detective work outside the Marina.

The narcotics arrest started out being a disturbance call, and Gonzalez pointed out the importance of vigilance by the community.

Gonzalez also spoke about a stolen boat being recovered after it had been sighted in one of the other basins at the Marina, on which the name and identification number had been removed.

A mechanic who had worked on the boat previously recognized the boat and three individuals were taken into custody, Gonzalez said.

“That’s why we need help from the community in reporting suspicious behavior,” said Gonzalez.

Crimes of opportunity were discussed, such as the theft of GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, laptop computers and other electronics from the seats of vehicles in parking structures.

To the criminal mind, leaving these items inside the vehicles rather than placing them in the trunk is a challenge, Gonzalez said.

He told the audience that a jury-duty-related scam is being perpetrated on unsuspecting individuals.

A person calls individuals and says that they are supposed to be on jury duty and that a warrant for their arrest has been issued.

The caller then says it can be fixed if the individual provides their social security number to verify their identity.

“We don’t do that,” said Gonzalez. The jury duty information is already available and no one calls individuals to tell them they have jury duty or that there is a warrant for their arrest.

“THE MOOSE ARE LOOSE” — Two new rescue patrol vessels for the Marina Sheriff’s Station —Moose Boats, heavy-duty aluminum catamarans — will be christened Tradition and Edgington at the end of January and in March or April an open house will be held at a date to be determined where the community can view the boats, said Campbell.

Assistant Harbormaster and Operations Sgt. Mike Carrilles’s presentation, “The Moose are Loose,” focused on the capabilities of the new Moose Boats and he told the audience that the Marina Sheriff’s Station is the only 24-hour law enforcement on the ocean, with a patrol area from the Palos Verdes to the Ventura County line.

Referring to the Moose Boats, Carrilles called them, “our navy” and said these boats are equipped to handle any situation.

The Harbor Patrol detail is responsible for law enforcement on the water and on the docks. With oil tankers, LAX and the Hyperion Treatment Plant to patrol, as well as rescue operations, the two new vessels bring a great increase in speed and range, along with heavy-weather capability that enables the sheriff’s department to better meet the challenges of their work, Carrilles said.

In 2007, the department rescued 408 people and saved $9.6 million in total assets, said Carrilles.

There are 16 rescue boat operators, 20 deck hands, and divers, and they are all certified as emergency medical technicians in their rigorous training, he said.

As first responders for any disasters such as airplane crashes, firefighting, helicopter operations, boat explosions and fires, cars in the water and capsized vessels, the County Sheriff’s Department relies on its equipment, and these two exceptional new vessels will greatly enhance the capabilities of their crews, Carrilles said.

The sheriff’s department also works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Fish and Game and other official organizations.

Training with the Coast Guard in simulated events, and working with the Coast Guard allows the sheriff’s department to get things done to keep the coast safe, and the Coast Guard can legally board any vessel in the U.S., said Campbell.