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Seven Arrested in Santa Barbara Gang Sweep

Five teams of officers and detectives target 19 locations

Santa Barbara police conducted a gang sweep Wednesday morning at residences throughout the city, leading to seven arrests.

Lt. Paul McCaffrey said five teams of officers and detectives went to 19 locations.

The goal was to arrest gang members or associates on arrest warrants, or to ensure compliance with the terms of probation/parole, he said. Such terms include not possessing illegal weapons, illegal drugs or contraband.

Those arrested included:

» Christian Botello on charges of robbery, committing a crime while a member of, and in furtherance of a criminal street gang.

» Marcial Garcia on charges of robbery, criminal threats, committing a crime while a member of, and in furtherance of a criminal street gang, and violation of parole.

» Juan Gomez on charges of robbery, committing a crime while a member of, and in furtherance of a criminal street gang.

» Joaquin Perez for violation of parole, possession of marijuana for sales.

» Ronald Contreras for violation of parole, possession of controlled narcotic.

» Giovanny Torres for violation of probation.

» A 17-year-old male whose name was withheld, for violation of probation.

McCaffrey said the three robbery charges stem from an incident in late August. A fourth suspect is still being sought, and the victim did not have any gang affiliation, according to McCaffrey.

Santa Barbara police deployed an armored Bearcat vehicle at a home in the 1200 block of Punta Gorda Street for Wednesday’s operation.

On Sept. 30, officers responded to numerous calls of shots fired in the area of Cacique and Canada streets, and witnesses described a sedan fleeing the scene, according to McCaffrey. He said police found a similar vehicle in the area, and when they pulled it over, multiple young men jumped out and fled. The driver was detained for investigation.

The residence in the 1200 block of Punta Gorda was searched during that investigation pursuant to court-ordered terms of probation, McCaffrey said, and police found a quarter-pound of cocaine and more than $10,000 in cash.

With reasonable suspicion that firearms were connected to the investigation, McCaffrey said the Bearcat vehicle was employed Wednesday for safety purposes.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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