A 31-year-old Santa Barbara man was arrested this week on suspicion of unlawfully selling and possessing assault weapons, among other charges, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the arrest was made Wednesday at the culmination of a months-long investigation into individuals suspected of selling illegal guns and narcotics in the Santa Barbara area, conducted by the department's Special Investigations Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
During the investigation, Hoover said, undercover detectives purchased a fully automatic assault weapon with no serial number and methamphetamines from a Santa Barbara County resident.
On Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies and BATFE served arrest and search warrants at a residence in the 300 block of San Marino Drive in Santa Barbara, Hoover said.
“The warrants were served to gather further evidence related to the unlawful sales of guns and narcotics,” she said.
A heavy law enforcement presence descended on the neighborhood, closing off some streets.
Based on evidence obtained, detectives arrested 31-year-old Paulo Desena, who was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on numerous charges, including possession of a controlled substance, unlawful sales of an assault weapon, possession of an assault weapon in the commission of a felony, possession of a machine gun, unlicensed sale of a firearm, sales of a firearm without a serial number, sale of a firearm to someone other than the actual purchaser and sale of a firearm to a prohibited person, Hoover said.
Bail for Desena was set at $500,000.
Hoover said the Sheriff’s Department's Special Investigations Bureau was intentionally targeting armed narcotics traffickers because of the significant threat they pose to the community.