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State news briefs
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HOMELESS GETTING CHECKS FOR POLICE RAID LOSSES: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Homeless people are getting checks for property destroyed during Sacramento police raids on illegal campsites.

The Loaves & Fishes homeless services complex is one of several locations where checks ranging from $400 to $750 are being distributed. Those will addresses are getting checks in the mail.

The Sacramento Bee   says the payments resolve a class-action lawsuit claiming police violated the constitutional rights of homeless people by seizing and destroying their property during cleanup operations since 2005.

The federal lawsuit said police officers took bicycles, tents and other items without giving the owners a chance to get them back.

It's costing taxpayers $796,050 in payments to 1,143 people.

The city is still fighting a requested $1.8 million in legal fees.

TRUCKER UNABLE TO EXPLAIN CRASH INTO TRAIN: HANFORD  (AP) — A trucker is unable to explain why he drove his big-rig through a flashing crossing gate and struck an Amtrak train in a California farming community.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Jerry Pierce says 32-year-old Macario Medina was driving about 55 mph when he hit the train on Monday in Hanford.

Medina's truck hit between the last of four passenger cars and the engine that was pushing the train at about 80 mph.

Medina and 39 people on the train were hurt.

Pierce tells the Fresno Bee that Medina was not impaired at the time of the crash and the truck driver has been unable to explain why he drove through the crossing signal.

3 DEAD IN CRASH WHEN CAR RUNS STOP SIGN: FOWLER  (AP) — Three men who weren't wearing seatbelts are dead after their car ran a stop sign in rural Central California and collided with another vehicle.

The Fresno Bee says a Saturn carrying three 21-year-old men and a 21-year-old woman sped around a slowing car and failed to stop on Tuesday at a stop sign near Fowler in Fresno County.

The Saturn slammed into a Toyota Camry, injuring the driver and a passenger.

The California Highway Patrol says the Saturn spun into two telephone poles before coming to rest on its left side.

The male Saturn driver and two male passengers were thrown from the Saturn and killed. They weren't wearing seatbelts.

The female Saturn passenger and two men in the Toyota are hospitalized.

MAN IN ALLEGED MOLESTATION VIDEO PLEADS NOT GUILTY: VISTA  (AP) — A man who allegedly videotaped himself having sex with his ex-girlfriend's young daughter has pleaded not guilty to child molestation in San Diego County.

The North County Times says Daniel Hood entered the plea Tuesday to oral copulation and having sex with a child under 10. He's jailed without bail and faces 116 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors contend the 42-year-old man molested the girl from the ages of 5 to 9 while her mother was at work.

Authorities say the molestation occurred in Temecula and Oceanside, only ending last year when Hood and his girlfriend broke up.

Prosecutors say Hood was arrested after videos of himself molesting the girl were found on a cellphone he left at a relative's house.

SANTA MONICA PASSES STRICT NO-SMOKING LAW: SANTA MONICA  (AP) — Smokers will find it tough to light up in Santa Monica residential areas.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to make it illegal for new apartment and condominium dwellers to smoke.

The ordinance also forces landlords to ask existing tenants to designate their apartments smoking, non-smoking or decline to disclose. They lose the right to smoke if they fail register their homes as designated smoking units.

It's unclear when the new law goes into effect.

The Santa Monica Daily Press notes it's the third time the City Council tackled no-smoking rules for multi-unit dwellings.

Some council members in the past had expressed concerns about prohibiting a legal activity in private homes.

Medical marijuana users also said it violated privacy rights.

MAN CHARGED WITH BUILDING 2 MAJOR BORDER TUNNELS: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Prosecutors say an operative for Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel has been indicted in San Diego on charges alleging he oversaw construction of two major cross-border drug tunnels.

The indictment unsealed Wednesday in federal court accuses Jose Sanchez Villalobos of building and financing one tunnel found in November 2010 that netted about 22 tons of marijuana. The other tunnel discovered a year later brought in 32 tons of marijuana.

Prosecutors say Sanchez Villalobos is the highest-ranking cartel operative linked to the tunnels, which have proliferated along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years.

The Mexican army arrested Sanchez Villalobos in January in connection with the seizure of $15.3 million three months earlier in Tijuana, Mexico. Mexican authorities call him an operative for the Sinaloa cartel in Baja California and Jalisco states.

LA OFFICIALS SIGN PAPER CALLING FOR FOOTBALL ARENA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Are you ready for some football? Officials in Los Angeles have put their yes in writing.

City Council members and Anschutz Entertainment Group executives signed papers Wednesday that should create a 76,000-seat stadium and make over the city's 50-year-old convention center.

Last month, the council voted unanimously to approve the $1.5 billion project.

AEG has pledged $35 million to reduce traffic problems.

The company wants to have a National Football League team on the field by the 2017 season.

AEG, a subsidiary of Denver-based Anschutz Co., is up for sale, but officials have assured the city the stadium plan will not change.