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Local News

Santa Barbara Detectives Arrest Three Suspects on Drug, Firearm Charges

The men — one from Santa Barbara and two from Lompoc — are in custody after a yearlong investigation

Three men have been arrested as a result of a yearlong investigation by Santa Barbara Police Department narcotics detectives and are facing charges including possession of drug paraphernalia, firearms and ammunition.

Edward Cardoza
Edward Anthony Cardoza

Edward Anthony Cardoza, 51, Louis Edward Ramirez, 51, both of Lompoc, and Steven Frank Silva, 42, of Santa Barbara were all arrested Monday, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood. He said Cardoza and Ramirez are both felons.

The SBPD Narcotics Unit had been investigating the criminal activities of Cardoza for about a year, Harwood said, an effort that culminated with detectives obtaining a search warrant for Cardoza’s Lompoc home and associated vehicles for narcotics and paraphernalia.

At 12:55 p.m. Monday, detectives were watching Cardoza’s residence prior to service of the search warrant when they spotted Cardoza and Silva loading what appeared to be duffel bags containing long guns into a van belonging to Silva, Harwood said.

Silva and Cardoza drove away, followed by detectives, and headed toward Santa Barbara.

The detectives, assisted by officers from the SBPD Criminal Impact Team, conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on the 100 block of South Fairview Avenue when it stopped in a liquor store parking lot, and Cardoza and Silva were contacted just after they exited the van.

"When Cardoza saw officers approach, he withdrew a loaded 9mm handgun from his waistband and attempted to discard it," Harwood said, adding that the two men were arrested and Silva's van was searched.

Louis Ramirez
Louis Edward Ramirez

Detectives found seven rifles, two handguns, and approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition inside the vehicle.

Cardoza’s residence on the 500 block of North G Street was also searched, where Ramirez was contacted. 

Ramirez acknowledged that he lived with Cardoza at that location, and inside the home were three methamphetamine pipes, a scale for weighing narcotics, and an additional rifle and ammunition were found. 

A large gun safe that had been cut open was located in the living room, Harwood said.

He said the investigation indicates that the guns are stolen, but the owner has not yet been located, and Harwood said that Cardoza and Silva were en route to Santa Barbara to sell the guns and ammunition in their possession on the street.

 

Steven Frank Silva
Steven Frank Silva

Cardoza was arrested on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail with a bail amount of $35,000.

Ramirez is facing charges of a being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, but a medical condition precluded Ramirez from being booked into jail, Harwood said.

Silva is facing a misdemeanor charge of carrying a firearm concealed within a vehicle.

Harwood said more charges against all three men may be forthcoming once of the owner of the guns, ammunition and safe is located.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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