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Fiesta Patrols Net Half-Dozen Santa Maria Suspects, Including 2 Alleged Gang Members

Beefed-up law enforcement collaboration during Santa Barbara’s Fiesta celebration has resulted in several arrests, including those of two alleged Santa Maria gang members.

According to Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, sheriff’s detectives made a traffic stop at around 8:30 p.m. Thursday on the Lower Eastside. She said the vehicle’s driver appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, and he and his passenger both looked “nervous.”

After it was determined that the passenger was on active probation, Hoover said, the detectives summoned Santa Barbara police and a police K-9 team to the scene near Milpas Street and Highway 101.

During a search of the vehicle, the SBPD drug dog, Jack, alerted his handler that there were drugs inside, she said.

“Detectives continued the search of the vehicle and located more than 25 grams of methamphetamine, nearly 5 grams of heroin, cash and a loaded semi-automatic handgun,” Hoover added.

The driver was identified as 29-year-old David Olaf Barajas and the passenger as 30-year-old Isael Jesus Elenes, who was on probation for narcotics trafficking and fleeing from law enforcement in a vehicle.

Isael Jesus Elene Click to view larger
Isael Jesus Elenes. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)
David Olaf Barajas Click to view larger
David Olaf Barajas. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Both men are suspected criminal street gang members from Santa Maria, Hoover said.

She said the suspects were arrested for possession of drugs for sales, being felons in possession of a firearm, and several other charges related to drug sales. They were booked into County Jail, with Barajas’ bail set at $500,000 and Elenes being held without bail.

The next night, Hoover said, sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Bureau pulled over a vehicle reported speeding near East Cota and North Salsipuedes streets, also on the Lower Eastside.

During the 10:45 p.m. traffic stop, a methamphetamine pipe and hypodermic syringes were found in one passenger’s possession, she said.

“Additional searches were conducted and nine bindles of heroin totaling approximately 6 grams were located, along with three heroin-loaded hypodermic syringes, 8 grams of methamphetamine, and $700 in cash believed to be related to illegal narcotics sales,” Hoover said.

Francisco Paz Click to view larger
Francisco Paz. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)
Debra Flores Click to view larger
Debra Flores (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)
Joaquin Robles Click to view larger
Joaquin Robles. (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

The vehicle’s four occupants, all from Santa Maria, were subsequently arrested and booked into County Jail.

Hoover said the driver, 58-year-old Francisco Paz, was arrested for transporting heroin for sales and possession of drug paraphernalia. Among the passengers, she said, Debra Flores, 56, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine; Joaquin Robles, 42, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia; and Dolores Galindo, 32, was arrested on a probation violation.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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