Monday, February 19 , 2018, 4:34 am | Fair 48º


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3 L.A. Gang Members Arrested on Mail-Theft, Related Charges in Santa Barbara

A traffic accident in Santa Barbara earlier this week led to the arrest of three Los Angeles-area gang members who are now facing mail-theft, forgery and related charges.

On Tuesday, officers responded at about 5:30 a.m. to a report of a traffic collision on the 1600 block of Payers Street, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Investigation revealed that Regino Omar Estrada Ramirez, 25, of Los Angeles was driving when he failed to negotiate a turn and struck a parked car, Harwood said.

With him in the vehicle were two passengers, Ramon Julian Gomez, 19, and Saulo Solares, 20, also of Los Angeles, Harwood said.

Investigators determined that Ramirez was unlicensed, and prepared to impound his vehicle.

Regino Omar Estrada Ramirez

“Prior to Ramirez’s car being towed from the scene, officers conducted an inventory search and discovered that it contained several checks that appeared to be stolen,” Harwood said. “A can of spray paint that appeared to have been recently used was also in the car, along with a check-fishing device, an improvised piece of equipment consisting of a weighted line with adhesive used by thieves to retrieve mail from mail boxes.”

Gomez and Solares were found to be in possession of methamphetamine, Harwood said, while Gomez was in possession of a second check-fishing device, and Solares had a pair of binoculars.

In recent weeks, the trio allegedly had been stealing checks in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Harwood said.

Ramon Julian Gomez

They had come to Santa Barbara to visit Ramirez’s mother, who lives on the city’s Eastside, Harwood said.

“Shortly after arrival, in the early morning of September 1, the three committed a vandalism in that area, spray painting gang graffiti,” Harwood said. “They next drove throughout Santa Barbara, stealing checks from U.S. Postal Service mail boxes until crashing their vehicle and being contacted by police.”

Police recovered more than 30 stolen checks with a total value of more than $28,000, Harwood said.

All three were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy, check forgery, grand theft, vandalism, and participation in a criminal street gang.

Saulo Solares

Gomez and Solares also face charges of possession of methamphetamine, while Ramirez faces a charge of driving without a license.

Bail for each was set at $120,000.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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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