Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies this week arrested a suspected methamphetamine dealer and seized two pounds of meth with an estimated street value of $24,000.
Alejandro Jaimes Lopez, 30, had been under investigation by the Sheriff's Department for more than a year, according to spokeswoman Kelly Hoover. She said Lopez had a felony warrant out for his arrest involving a case in which more than three pounds of meth were seized.
Lopez was believed to have fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution, but Hoover said investigators recently learned he was back in the area.
Narcotics investigators tracked Lopez to Lookout Park in Summerland, where he was arrested Tuesday on the outstanding warrant.
Sheriff’s detectives searched a vehicle with which he was associated at the park and found about two pounds of methamphetamine, Hoover said. She said detectives seized another ounce of meth — hidden inside a soap box — from Lopez's vehicle parked at a Montecito residence.
According to Hoover, she said detectives learned that Lopez worked as a landscaper for an elderly couple in Montecito and had been hiding methamphetamine by burying it in the couple’s yard.
She said the homeowners were unaware of the criminal activity.
Lopez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale and the outstanding felony warrant for his arrest. Bail was set at $250,000.