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Drug, Weapons Raid Rocks Santa Barbara Neighborhoods

About 100 federal, state and local officers launch an early-morning operation that led to seven search warrants and nine arrest warrants.

A drug- and illegal-firearms raid involving about 100 federal and local law enforcement officers sent shock waves through Santa Barbara neighborhoods early Friday morning and led to seven search warrants and nine arrest warrants, law enforcement officials said.

Officials were tight-lipped about the operation, citing an ongoing investigation, and released details about it late Monday afternoon, after media inquiries.

The event concluded a yearlong investigation and involved a potpourri of law enforcement agencies, including the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Enforcement Team, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and support from the Santa Barbara police and sheriff departments, Santa Barbara police Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte said in a statement. 

The news release distributed Monday made no mention of the specific neighborhoods involved, but a resident of the San Roque neighborhood said neighbors there were jolted out of bed about 4:30 a.m. by two loud blasts — possibly concussion grenades to break down the door — at a residence on the northwest corner of Calle Rosales and San Roque Road.

“What followed was a brief period of very loud shouting, then complete silence,” Linda Friedland wrote in an e-mail to Noozhawk. “The complete news blackout is disquieting, to say the least.”

Friedland called 9-1-1, but said she was told by a dispatcher that everything was being taken care of.

She added that people had reported on that a similar raid had occurred around the same time in the area of the De La Vina and State Street intersection, and that the law enforcement officials had set up a staging area at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

Noozhawk staff writer Rob Kuznia can be reached at [email protected]

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