El Modena Residents Claim Sheriff's Deputies Conducting Random Pull-Overs to Crack Down on Unlicensed Drivers

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"We can't even drive at night anymore," says Omar, who declined to give his last name. He's a resident of El Modena, the historic barrio in unincorporated Orange that has seen an influx of immigrants from the Mexican state of Veracruz (most undocumented) over the past 20 years to supplement ElMo's longstanding Chicano community.

We're standing at the Village Center Shopping Plaza, where dozens of jornaleros stand around looking for work. Almost all have the same story as Omar: In the past month, the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), which services El Modena, has conducted random pull-overs with no other intention than to find unlicensed drivers--and thus be able to deport illegal immigrants.

Omar, who works as a general laborer in good times, a jornalero in bad, says the deputies patrol the barrio at night, with a specific focus on Hewes Street, El Modena's main drag. "My brother-in-law was driving home from work when a sheriff pulled him over," he says in Spanish. "He didn't have a criminal record, had never broken any law. But because he didn't have a license, he got a ticket. Hundreds of dollars. Now, he's scared he'll get deported."

"A mi hermano también," says another jornalero. My brother, too. Other men nod in agreement.

Lieutenant Bob Wren, head of OCSD's North Patrol unit in charge of El Modena, denies the charges. "That's not probable cause for a stop," says Wren, noting that what the men accuse his department of doing is against department procedure. The department doesn't engage in pull-overs "just for the purpose" of catching unlicensed drivers, Wren says.

The El Modena men remain unconvinced. They're looking for a civil-rights group to contact and help them out. Paging Los Amigos . . .

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34 comments
Waterspiketmike
Waterspiketmike

Heck I got pulled over by a cop without cause in Santa Ana, maybe because I am not Hispanic? I didn't whine, but I do have a license.

Salbiach
Salbiach

If your lights are not working right, if you roll through a stop, if you don't were your seat belt, you will get pulled over. It's not because of who you are or where you might have come from but rather that you have broken the law. You might get a warning for a minor violation if your license and car paperwork records are in order. But if you are driving without a license you will get a ticket. Why do these folks insist on driving when they know they are not licensed! They can walk, ride a bike or take the bus legally. Perhaps these residents of El Modena would prefer to live in a land that has no traffic laws, they could try moving to to lovely oceanside town Vera Cruz.

nosoyracista
nosoyracista

It's ludicrous that this is considered a racial issue... but I wouldn't put it past you to turn it into one, Gus. Driving without a license is against the law but perhaps you are suggesting that the law should not be enforced if the driver is latino.

I'm guessing that you are also up in arms about Lake Forest increasing the penalties for graffiti. After all... many of the offenders are latino, hence this law is racist. Verdad que si?

http://www.ocregister.com/news...

Maryofthelight
Maryofthelight

I can't believe they are giving tickets to unlicensed drivers. Next they will target speeders and drunk drivers. We need to organize and send the message that our DMV laws only apply to the legal (documented citizens) of the U.S. Other countries allow undocumented drivers to do whatever they want.

SandraMoya
SandraMoya

Good,get the people without insurance and driver's licenses off the street!!!There should be more crack downs all over this state.Nothing to whine about here Gustavo.Thank God they are doing their job!

Luis O.
Luis O.

Everyone gets pulled over....everyone get's checked...So waaa waaaaa waaaaa.Welcome to the U.S.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I am an older white guy. I have dear friends in El Mo. I remember years ago I was driving a rented Lexus style vehicle with Florida Plates up Chapman and made a Left turn at the Pollo Loco just before Hewes. A city of Orange Pig pulled up behind me as I was getting out of the vehicle, asked me if I was lost or something, I said NO, he asked if he could look through the vehicle, I said "sure if you have a warrant" and he did not pursue it anymore, I asked if I committed any violation, and if not I would like to go in and visit my friends with what time I had remaining...he left without anything further... Racial Stereotyping in reverse... LOL

xxPREACHERxxo
xxPREACHERxxo

Im Chicano but seriously. The law is the law. Unlicensed drive equals uninsured driver. I've been hit by my so called raza. They all have the same answer. Im illegal and poor. I can't pay for damaging your car. Screw that. I work to damn hard for anyone to just crash into my car and I have to pay the bill. They need to run that program in Santa Ana. Cause it's like a second Mexico. It's got to stop.

House101
House101

I grew up in El Modena and i am totally for it. The community has gotten worse and worse, with the streets being cluttered with run down cars and and illegals perching themselves like pigeons all around the 7-11 and Ace hardware. I have seen tons of hit and runs, and very scary close calls in the cross walk (at center street that crosses hewes) with tons construction trucks. My family used to always walk the neighborhood everyday in the afternoons, but have stopped in recent years because the neighborhood has lost its homely safe atmosphere.

ICE Supporter
ICE Supporter

How about these illegal aliens find an immigration attorney to help them become legal. That would be a good start. But I'm sure they have no interest in that.

I wouldn't be opposed if they got some money if their rights were violated. They could just use it to pay to deport their asses back to Mehico.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

I wasn't familiar with the word "jornalero" before. My first instinct was that it meant "journalist". You know times in the media are tough when it's not too much of a stretch for me to think journalists were hanging around street corners, looking for work.

Jck_brt
Jck_brt

"He had never broken any laws." This statement alone tells me illegals aren't familiar with our laws. It is against the law to drive without a license, PERIOD! His brother has been breaking the law every time he got behind the wheel. Since moving to Santa Ana, I've been rear-ended four times, each one was undocumented, no license and of course NO INSURANCE, naturally they all assured me they did. I'm so glad I listened to people who knew about Santa Ana and suggested I buy uninsured motorist coverage. I did (but I would've anyway.) My insurance covered the cost of damages. When the cost of insurance goes up, who's going to help pay for it, the illegals? I don't think so. They complain about rights, they have more rights than REAL AMERICAN CITIZENS and no not the Indians, cause even they came from across the sea i.e. Bering Strait.

Francisco Barragan
Francisco Barragan

Gustavo,

I will share this article with Los Amigos of Orange County because as is alleged and as Lt. Bob Wren stated, if this is happening by a few rogue officers then this would be in violation of department procedures because of lack of probable cause for these stops, which would then affect the rights of all citizens and legal residents in violation of unreasonable search and seizure.

thank you,

Francisco B.

Just4ads
Just4ads

gee, that's too bad. Go home if you don't like it.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Did you read the article? It's against OCSD policy. for deputies to target people specifically to look for lack of insurance or driver's license. What part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?

Bill T.
Bill T.

If you want to live in a state where the police are allowed to pretty much do anything they want move to the P.R.C. This is the U.S., the police are supposed to have probable cause when they pull you over. Maybe you think it would be ok for them to come into your home any time they want to just because they have a hunch, or whatever, not a long stretch.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

You know people have been saying that about ElMo since when you grew up?

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

On topic though, I'm from Orange. White guy. I've always been pretty suspect of their reasons for pulling people over. I've known plenty of people who've suggested there may be some nefarious intentions going on. When I was a young punk, there were a few times my friend and I got pulled over, asked questions, etc. Then let go. It just builds and builds until you really lose trust in people that should be working FOR you. Probably cause is going down the drain all in the name of chickenshit tickets and outright profiling.

Williepinedo
Williepinedo

aren't you getting out of line fool? what kind of Indians are you talking about?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Francisco: I can get you in contact with one of my sources. Please email me...

ICE Supporter
ICE Supporter

How about our rights as legal citizens not to be invaded?

Pat
Pat

Let's see... working? check. paying rent/mortgage? check. paying utilities? check. kids in school? check. attending local places of worship? possibly. shopping at local businesses? probably.

Seems like they are home.

Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

Work harder n get full coverage if you don't wanna pay for anything when you crash.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Mayhem: Good points. Also remember that this is the Sheriff's department we're talking about, and they have an even worse reputation than the Orange PD. I will credit Lt. Wren for responding to my interview request, and for stating on the record that the alleged profiling is against department policy.

Jck_brt
Jck_brt

It's my RIGHT to get out of line, it's your right be respond foolishly!!

CHS
CHS

I know a couple of rednecks who would like to get "in contact with" your sources!

Jck_brt
Jck_brt

I'm curious, where do you live?

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