Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 11:58 pm | Fair 71º


Local News

11 Arrested in Santa Barbara Raids on Firearms, Drug-Trafficking Operations

Multiagency police task force sweeps seven locations, including house across from Monroe School

[Noozhawk note: Jose Farias, arrested Saturday during a multiagency sweep, was not eligible for bail because of a probation violation. An earlier version of this story was incorrect, and the article has been updated below.]

Seven suspects were taken into custody Saturday in a Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Enforcement Team sweep of seven Santa Barbara locations, including a home across the street from Monroe School on the Mesa. The suspects were wanted in connection with an alleged illegal firearms and drug-trafficking operation, said Sgt Lorenzo Duarte, a Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman.

Four other people were arrested in the raids.

The sweep was part of Operation Apehanger, a joint SBRNET investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Duarte said in a statement that the nine-month investigation has resulted in the seizure of numerous fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles and handguns with high-capacity magazines, a stolen handgun and several ounces of cocaine.

According to Duarte, Saturday’s raids included the seizure of additional illegal assault rifles, as well as other illegal weapons and various amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, illegal mushrooms, and an illegal indoor marijuana cultivation operation across from the Monroe campus.

Duarte said the police SWAT team participated in the service of the arrest and search warrants at 2015 Castillo St., No. 4, and at 510 Flora Vista Drive because of the suspects’ alleged access to high-powered weapons and their potentially violent nature.

According to the statement, arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on Saturday were:

» Keith Brown, 29, on charges of possession of marijuana for sale, possession of dangerous drugs and felony child endangerment. Bail was set at $100,000.

» Thomas Anthony Dominguez, 52, on charges of marijuana cultivation, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms and possession of illegal firearms. Bail was set at $250,000.

» Thomas Edward Dominguez, 35, on charges of possession of cocaine for sale, child endangerment, possession of illegal firearms (machine guns), conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms and parole violation. He is not eligible for bail because of the parole violation.

» Jacob Farias, 18, on charges of conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms, possession of burglary tools and marijuana cultivation. Bail was set at $250,000.

» Jose Farias, 47, on charges of conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms and violation of felony probation. He is not eligible for bail because of the probation violation.

» Michael Finerty, 26, on charges of possession of illegal mushrooms for sale. Bail was set at $30,000.

» Virginia Highfield, 30, on charges of parole violation, felon in possession of firearms and conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms. She is not eligible for bail because of the parole violation.

» Robert Maynez, 51, on charges of cocaine sales, possession of illegal firearms (machine guns) and conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms. Bail was set at $250,000.

» Micah McCabe, 37, on charges of conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms and felon in possession of firearms. Bail was set at $250,000.

» Chrysta Ramirez, 28, on charges of felony child endangerment. Bail was set at $100,000.

» Alejandro Raya, 42, on charges of possession of illegal firearms (machine guns), felon in possession of firearms and conspiracy to distribute illegal firearms. Bail was set at $250,000.

In addition to the Castillo and Flora Vista locations, Duarte said raids were carried out at 350 Cooper Road, 326 E. Micheltorena St., 416 Samarkand Drive, 2505 Selrose Ave. and 2311 White Ave. All are in residential neighborhoods.

SBRNET, BATF and the Santa Barbara police SWAT team were joined by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol warrant service teams, the Los Angeles Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, San Luis Obispo County Narcotics Task Force, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“The type of firepower that these individuals were illegally manufacturing and selling is an extreme danger to every resident of this area,” said Christopher Shaefer, acting special agent in charge of the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division.

“These are the types of weapons that the men and women of our military face on battlefields in the Middle East and are the same types of firearms used in the cartel-fueled violence in Mexico.

“BATF will continue to work with our law-enforcement partners in the Central Coast region targeting violent criminals who use firearms as their tools of the trade.”

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez praised the execution of the sweep.

“The Santa Barbara Police Department was proud to work with these other great agencies,” he said. “Taking automatic weapons off the streets and putting these criminals behind bars ranks among our highest priorities.”

The state Attorney’s General’s Office’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement operates 48 regional narcotic task forces statewide. The Santa Barbara regional team is a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement; CHP; Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria police departments; the county District Attorney’s Office; the county Probation Department; and the Sheriff’s Department.

“SBRNET is aggressively cracking down on drug and gun dealers to make our neighborhoods in Santa Barbara County safer for families,” task force Cmdr. Ken Bambrick said. “This was an especially important bust because the suspects were selling high-powered rifles and dealing dangerous drugs across the street from an elementary school.”

Duarte said a news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Police Department, 215 E. Figueroa St.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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