The investigation into the slayings of two young men on Santa Barbara Eastside in January has led to two additional arrests and the seizure of a large cache of weapons, the Santa Barbara Police Department announced on Wednesday.
Fernando Gutierrez, 35, of Carpinteria and Edgardo Romero, 30, of Ventura were taken into custody by Santa Barbara police detectives on April 8 and April 12, respectively, according to Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale.
Gutierrez, who is believed to have a gang association with the three homicide suspects, was arrested at a residence on the 1100 block of Mark Avenue in Carpinteria, Ragsdale said,.
Romero was taken into custody after warrants were served on the 600 block of Empire Avenue in Ventura.
On April 8, the Police Department had announced the arrests of Angel Eduardo Varela, 26, Oscar Martin Trujillo-Gutierrez, 25, and Emilio Perez, 18.
They are accused in the shooting deaths of Angel Castillo, 17, and Omar Montiel-Hernandez, 18, and in attacks on three others — ages 16, 17, and 18 — on the 1220 block of Liberty Street on Jan. 3.
Two additional victims were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for medical treatment after the Jan. 3 shootings.
Varela, Trujillo-Gutierrez, and Perez were being held without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail on warrants alleging murder and attempted murder.
Romero was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder, unlawful assault weapon activity, and unlawful possession of an assault weapon, all felonies; and unlawful manufacture of a firearm, a misdemeanor. Ragsdale said.
Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, street terrorism, being an active participant in a criminal street gang, and possession of an assault weapon, all felonies, Ragsdale added.
Romero was being held without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail, while bail for Gutierrez was set at $500,000.
Following the arrests, law enforcement officers discovered and seized a large amount of evidence, including three non-serialized assault-type rifles, one revolver, three semi-automatic handguns, 16 high-capacity assault rifle magazines, one high-capacity handgun drum magazine, eight bulletproof vests, more than 2,400 rounds of assorted live ammunition, and “significant” gang-related items, Ragsdale said.
“Even though additional arrests have been made in this case, the Santa Barbara Police Department is still actively investigating leads and will provide more information if it becomes available,” Ragsdale said .