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Brown Heroin Bust Called Largest in Sheriff’s Department History

Two are arrested and three and a half pounds of brown heroin and methamphetamine are seized after a multiagency investigation

Joaquin Perez
Joaquin Perez

A six-month investigation of suspected heroin and methamphetamine dealers in Santa Barbara County has resulted in the largest brown powder heroin seizure in Sheriff’s Department history, department spokesman Drew Sugars said Wednesday. Two people were arrested in raids in Santa Barbara.

Gilbert Herrera
Gilbert Herrera

Sheriff’s narcotics detectives, assisted by the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Task Force and officers from both the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria police departments, on Tuesday served search warrants at three residences in the 80 block of Vista Del Mar near Arroyo Burro Beach and the 1100 block of Punta Gorda Street and the 1000 block of East Cota Street on the Lower Eastside, Sugars said. A fourth search warrant was served at a storage facility on South Calle Cesar Chavez.

During the service of the search warrants, Sugars said, one of the suspects, Joaquin Perez, 39, was contacted in his nearby vehicle and subsequently found to be in possession of approximately 2.5 ounces of heroin and methamphetamine packaged for sales. The additional suspect, Gilbert Herrera, 33, was contacted inside the Vista Del Mar residence.

Approximately 3.5 pounds of brown powder heroin and a half-pound of crystal methamphetamine was located at the residence. Two firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun and additional items related to the sales of narcotics, also were located, Sugars said.

Brown powder heroin seizures are rare, as black tar heroin is more prevalent in this area, Sugars said. The street value of the heroin is estimated at $158,800 and the methamphetamine is valued at $19,600, according to Sugars. More than $20,000 in cash was seized from Perez’s storage locker pursuant to State Asset Forfeiture Laws.

Noozhawk staff writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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