One night fighting crime: JCAT tries to prevent the violence from happening

Published: Saturday, Nov. 10 2012 12:00 p.m. MST

The suspects open the door and the target of the investigation is pushed face down on a bed while another officer secures his hands. The man is taken directly to the Utah State Prison for parole violations.

The arrest completed, it's now off to Cottonwood Heights where the team is looking for a man with a warrant charging him with being a restricted person in possession of weapons. The restrictions stem from a previous aggravated assault conviction. The JCAT officers also received information that other people were known to crash at the residence, including one person known to sleep with a gun nearby.

The heavily armed agents surround the house, but discover the man they are looking for is not there. They gather a lead about a girlfriend that works at a nearby restaurant. Detectives race there and learn the woman is not working that night, but get information leading to another Salt Lake City apartment.

The lead pays off.

JCAT members find Eugene Pavlov, 20, and arrest him on his outstanding warrant. He is wearing a shirt with the inscription: "I am not a role model."  Investigators discover more than $1,000 in cash under the bed in the apartment, but both Pavlov and his girlfriend say they don't know how it got there.

Pavlov is taken to jail and Phelps calls it a perfect example of how investigators track down felons by piecing together several pieces of information during the course of a night.

Off to Magna

The team heads to Magna holding a $100,000 warrant signed that morning for Luis Raigoza. He was charged in 3rd District Court with 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies, for allegedly downloading child pornography.

JCAT members surround the house where Raigoza is renting a basement bedroom. The homeowner lets the officers inside. But when they get to Raigoza's bedroom, he doesn't immediately unlock the door. He says he's getting dressed.

After Raigoza failed to comply with their commands, an officer kicks the door off its frame and several investigators storm into the unkempt and filthy bedroom, taking Raigoza into custody.

Next stop for the team is a home in West Jordan. While driving there, Phelps learns other members of the team have successfully arrested a man in Tooele wanted for investigation of aggravated robbery. Now, the team has information that a person who might have information on Mascarenas — one of the team's main target this night — is in West Jordan.

But when JCAT arrives at the house, they find something they didn't expect to find. Six people, all with outstanding warrants, are discovered smoking bath salts in the basement. Three men and three women are arrested and taken to jail.

The six are questioned and information leads to a home in Salt Lake City's northwest side to investigate a possible Mascarenas sighting. Because of the man's history of violence, all available JCAT members are called to the staging area, including officers who just completed a spice bust with their home agencies.

In their largest show of force of the night, the team quietly walks up to their target house, an old structure with potential for danger because of a trailer parked in the yard, a shed and several other potential hiding places. Each member of the team has their weapons drawn.

It is now after midnight as they make several attempts to get someone to answer the door. Finally, they find someone inside the trailer, another person inside the shed, and two more in the house.

The person in the trailer was a federal fugitive who had been on the run from law enforcement for more than a year, Phelps said. He was arrested.

Mascarenas wasn't there, but they did get information from another man in the house about another wanted fugitive, and were able to find and arrest him the next night.

A week later, the JCAT team is able to track down the man with the child rape warrant in Park City.

As for Mascarenas, he was found and arrested the next day by the Tooele City Police Department.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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