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3 Men Due in Court to Face Charges Stemming from Raid on Suspected Drug Lab

Charles Thomas Romanus Click to view larger
Charles Thomas Romanus

Three men are scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Santa Barbara next week to face charges stemming from a New Year’s Eve raid on a suspected drug lab near Santa Barbara.

Investigators with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department say they found evidence of an illicit drug lab while searching a residence owned by 52-year-old Charles Thomas Romanus in the 100 block of Nogal Drive.

Romanus was arrested Dec. 31 and has been charged with three felonies: manufacturing cocaine base, maintaining a place for selling or using a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a narcotic addict, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

He also is facing misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Romanus, who was released from the County Jail after posting a $100,000 bond, is due back in court Monday for a hearing before Judge Michael Carrozzo, according to John Savrnoch, chief deputy district attorney.

Henry Hewitt Click to view larger
Henry Hewitt

In a separate case, Romanus is facing four misdemeanor charges, including refusing to obey a police officer, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and possession of a controlled substance.

Also arrested during the Dec. 31 raid were Brandon Topete, 24, of Goleta and Henry Hewitt, 32, of Santa Barbara.

Hewitt is facing felony charges of false impersonation of another person, forgery and identity theft. He remained in jail Friday in lieu of $110,000 bail.

Topete is charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of burglary tools. He remained in custody without bail on a robbery warrant.

Brandon Topete Click to view larger
Brandon Topete

They also are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

The alleged drug lab was located on a property that also is home to a preschool and an animal rescue facility, but authorities have not indicated whether those operations have any connection to the alleged crimes.

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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