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Hawaiian Gardens : Counselor's Charges Nixed

October 29, 1987

The Sheriff's Department will not press charges against the Hawaiian Gardens youth and gang counselor who was arrested in August for allegedly interfering with an arrest, Lakewood Sheriff's Capt. Elmer Omohundro said this week.

City officials have been waiting since late September, when the Sheriff's Department investigation began, to learn the fate of Ernie Vargas, 37, director of the city's Youth Gang Diversion Program.

"The outcome was . . . that no charges should be filed against Ernie Vargas in the interest of justice and in the interest of mutual concern between the city and the Sheriff's Department," Omohundro said.

The incident, which occurred Aug. 30, further strained already tense relations between the city and the Sheriff's Department.

Hawaiian Gardens Mayor Rosalie Sher said the department's decision could be the beginning of better relations. "We are really happy to hear this," Sher said. "This is our opportunity to work together and improve relations . . . so we can make this a better place to live."

An investigation to determine whether disciplinary action will be taken against the arresting officers, deputies Kevin Lloyd and Robert Horner, is pending, Omohundro said.

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