Units with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Lompoc Police Department searched the home of an alleged criminal street gang member Wednesday as part of its citywide gang injunction.
The search warrant was served around 6 a.m. on the 200 block of West North Avenue in Lompoc, at the home of a man who was arrested April 3 on weapons-related charges during a traffic stop near Vandenberg Village.
James Valrie Jr., 24, of Lompoc was arrested on suspicion of possession of a billy club and a gang enhancement allegation after being stopped for having a broken headlight, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover. During the traffic stop, a sheriff’s deputy located a mini baseball bat with gang-related writing on it, “which was believed to be possessed as a weapon,” she said.
During Wednesday’s search at Valrie’s home, several pieces of suspected gang-related evidence were found but no new charges are pending and no additional arrests were made from the search, Hoover said.
The Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team and Gang Enforcement Unit conducted the search with Lompoc police.
The Gang Enforcement Unit “actively seeks to protect our communities through the proactive investigation of gang-related crimes,” Hoover said.
Lompoc’s gang injunction was approved in 2006 by Superior Court Judge James Iwasko against the city’s Southside and Varrio Lamparas Primera — or Westside — gangs. It includes a lot of the same conditions that Santa Barbara’s proposed injunction has, including no trespassing, no lookouts and no association.
Lompoc’s permanent injunctions are against “current members” who have been active in the past five years, while Santa Barbara’s proposed injunctions against the Eastside and Westside gangs would include specific names.
Santa Barbara County district attorney and police officials are still trying to move the civil injunction through court, but the process is stalled waiting on a Juvenile Court judge to decide which juvenile-court and criminal records for the 30 named defendants can be admitted.