SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A retired San Diego police detective pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal conspiracy charge for helping a Mexican millionaire illegally funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into San Diego political campaigns.
Ernesto Encinas, the 57-year-old owner of a San Diego-based private security and consulting business, also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.
He faces several years in prison when he is sentenced June 9 by U.S. District Judge Michael Anello.
Defense attorney Jeremy Warren said he hoped to save his client from jail.
"He took responsibility for what he did," Warren said outside court after the hearing.
Encinas, Ravneet Singh, a self-styled campaign guru who owned a Washington, D.C.-based campaign services company, local lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes were charged in January, accused of trying to hide the source of the large donations to federal and local campaigns, including the 2012 mayoral campaigns of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Bob Filner.
Court papers indicated Encinas wanted the next mayor to fire the chief of police and replace him with a person of Encinas' choosing in exchange for financial help supplied by Mexican millionaire Jose Azano Matsura, who faces a charge of campaign contributions by a foreign national.
A wildfire that scorched about 200 acres of brush in the southeastern reaches of San Diego County and threatened about 20 back-country homes was 40 percent contained Tuesday morning, fire officials said.
Authorities Monday released an artist's rendering of a man being sought for following and pestering teenage girls in East County neighborhoods early this summer.
Temperatures across San Diego County are expected to be about average Tuesday for mid-August with cooling expected for midweek before hot weather returns for the weekend.
Substance abuse prevention advocates in San Diego plan to speak out Tuesday against legislation that would allow cities around the state extend the bar-closing time to 4 a.m., from the current 2 a.m.
An Amber Alert was in effect Tuesday in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for a 9-year-old boy believed to have been abducted in Santa Maria following a homicide.
At least three brush rigs, four fire engines and two helicopters were dispatched early Tuesday morning to battle a blaze that scorched about two dozen palm trees in Mission Valley, authorities said.
The future of a Confederate monument in a municipally operated cemetery in San Diego was unclear Monday amid an online petition calling for its removal.
A former Uber driver pleaded guilty Monday to raping a female passenger and sexually assaulting as many as 14 other victims, including many who were unconscious from drugs or alcohol when the attacks occurred.
News 8's Chief Meteorologist Matt Baylow traveled to Wyoming to see the Great American Eclipse. He had one of the best view points in the nation with clear skies and temperatures in the low 80's.
The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.