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Alleged Black Market Weapons Dealer Arrested After Pursuit, Fight With Sheriff’s Detectives

Illegal firearms were seized and three men were arrested after searches at Santa Maria homes. Click to view larger
Illegal firearms were seized and three men were arrested after searches at Santa Maria homes.  (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

A violent felon with an extensive criminal history is secured in the Santa Barbara County Jail today after a multi-day investigation that led to numerous felony charges 

On Aug. 4 Sheriff’s Office detectives from the Special Investigation Bureau and Compliance Response Team conducted a probation search at a residence in the 200-block of W. Rochelle in Santa Maria.

Bobby Johnson was contacted at the residence and found to be in possession of a concealed firearm. Johnson was arrested at that time and later booked into custody for 25400 PC, carrying a concealed firearm, and 25800 PC, armed criminal action. 

As a result of their investigation, Jesus Piceno was identified as the suspect who had provided the firearm to Johnson. Piceno is currently on felony probation for narcotics-related charges.

Jesus Piceno Click to view larger
Jesus Piceno

A “be on the lookout” broadcast was given to the Santa Maria Police Department and an officer quickly located Piceno in a vehicle. Santa Maria Police attempted an enforcement stop on Piceno’s vehicle but he fled.

Santa Maria Police decided to terminate the pursuit given ​Piceno’s reckless driving and obvious disregard for the safety of others Sheriff’s Office detectives continued their investigation into Piceno and on Tuesday, a search warrant was served at a residence in the 2200-block of Johnson Drive in Santa Maria.

A small arsenal of weapons was found including an illegally-modified AK-47 and an AR-15 style assault rifle. Additionally, two handguns were recovered, one of which was believed to be stolen or improperly transferred or sold.

Jorge Garcia was contacted at the residence and it was determined that he had purchased the AK-47 in a legal manner but later modified the weapon, failing to comply with California state law. Garcia was also in possession of three high-capacity magazines.

Bobby Johnson Click to view larger
Bobby Johnson

Jorge Garcia was booked into custody for 30510 PC, possession of an unlawful assault weapon.

Later that afternoon, Sheriff’s detectives once again located Piceno in the 200-block of W. Rochelle in Santa Maria. With the assistance of Santa Maria Police, a Fish and Game Warden, and the Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit, officers surrounded Piceno’s residence.

While attempting to contact Piceno for a peaceful surrender, he fled out of a second-story window and barricaded himself inside an occupied apartment nearby.

Considering the danger to the residents inside, detectives and officers made entry into the apartment as Piceno fled to the second story roof.

Jorge Garcia Click to view larger
Jorge Garcia

Piceno then jumped onto an adjacent single-story roof and then onto the ground in the carport. Once he was on the ground floor, ​Piceno was captured after a struggle.

In the struggle to apprehend Piceno, a deputy deployed a less-lethal 40mm foam baton, striking Piceno twice.

During Piceno’s attempt to flee, he sustained a leg injury while jumping from the roofs.

Piceno was transported to Marian Hospital for treatment and later booked into custody on the following charges:

236 PC False imprisonment

459 PC Residential burglary of an occupied dwelling

69 PC Resist an executive officer

2800.1 VC Felony vehicle evading

273(a)(a) PC Felony child endangerment

27530 PC Selling firearm without license

29800 PC Felon in possession of a firearm

30305 PC Felon in possession of ammunition

496 PC Possession of stolen property

10851 VC Possession stolen vehicle

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