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Raid at San Bernardino County house finds guns, meth — and tombstones

Authorities believe the residents of the Loma Linda home, who were allegedly selling methamphetamine, dug at least some of the tombstones out from cemeteries in Colton.

August 18, 2011|By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Walker looks at some of the roughly two dozen tombstones found during a raid on a suspected drug house in Loma Linda. The tombstones apparently were dug up from local cemeteries.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Walker looks at some… (Reuters )

When deputies raided a suspected drug house in San Bernardino County this week, much of what they found was typical: guns, pipes and meth.

It's what they found in the backyard that shocked them: about two dozen custom granite tombstones scattered haphazardly across the yard.

"It is a bizarre scenario," said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Walker, who was at the scene. "It's not something we come across very often, [or] at all, really."

Authorities believe the residents of the home, who were allegedly selling methamphetamine, dug at least some of the tombstones out from a cemetery in the city of Colton about two miles away. Investigators found garden tools, including shovels, in the yard.

Walker said the smaller tombstones weighed about 150 pounds, and the larger ones roughly 200 pounds. Authorities valued the granite markers at nearly $50,000.

"They're very heavy. It takes at least two people to lift them," Walker said. "They had to have used a vehicle of some type to get them there."

He said investigators believe some of the missing tombstones, which have custom inscriptions, came from Montecito Memorial Park.

An official there told The Times on Wednesday that the cemetery was conducting its own investigation. Cemetery manager Leticia Pena declined to comment on whether any tombstones there were missing but did acknowledge they were looking at "what belongs to us."

At least one of the tombstones was traced to another cemetery, Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery in Colton, authorities said.

Four people were arrested Tuesday at the Loma Linda home and charged with possession and sale of methamphetamine, illegal possession of firearms and possession of stolen property, authorities said. They were identified as John Bleuer, Steve Hansen, Louis Anchelowitz and Lisa Jackson.

Authorities are looking for relatives to identify the tombstones. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (909) 387-3545.

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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