The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday released the results of its months-long investigation into April’s Deltopia street party, which included the arrests of eight more young people — with a UC Santa Barbara student and Santa Barbara City College student among them.
Violent rioting that broke out April 5 after a day of alcohol-fueled reveling at the unsanctioned party in Isla Vista near UCSB led to 26 civilian injuries, and six sheriff’s deputies and one UCSB police officer were also injured from flying rocks, bricks and bottles.
Authorities arrested 17 people during the disturbance, but detectives turned to witnesses or video footage to help identify more suspects, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
By pouring through surveillance video from various sources and following anonymous tips, sheriff’s detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division located and arrested suspects living as far away as South Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles County.
The most recent arrest happened last Friday in Oxnard, when detectives arrested Agustin Guerrero, 23, at his workplace, Hoover said.
She identified Guerrero as the suspect who was wearing a “Deltopia 14” monogrammed hat when he was allegedly captured on video throwing a large rock at a white UCLA-owned van near Camino Del Sur and Sabado Tarde.
“Following this act of vandalism, a mob completely destroyed the vehicle,” Hoover said. “Detectives believe Guerrero’s initial act of vandalism incited and encouraged others to destroy the vehicle. Sheriff’s detectives served a search warrant at his residence and several pieces of evidence were seized.”
Guerrero was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on an outstanding $50,000 arrest warrant for felony vandalism and inciting a riot, she said, and he also had a $5,000 unrelated traffic warrant.
Detectives identified Geddy Miller, 19, as the reveler in a widely shown video who jumped on top of the white UCLA van. Miller was arrested in South Lake Tahoe on April 18 and booked in El Dorado County Jail on charges of inciting a riot and felony vandalism, Hoover said.
William Hopkins, a 22-year-old UCSB student from Goleta, was taken into custody April 6 for refusing to disperse and remaining at a riot, she said.
Arron Cozza, 19, of Arroyo Grande, was identified as the suspect documented on video pulling a stop sign out of the ground and waving it around. Hoover said Cozza was arrested April 10 at Santa Barbara City College, where he is a student, and booked on charges of receiving stolen property and theft.
Also on April 10, sheriff’s detectives arrested 20-year-old Mike Duenas of Acton, Calif., and booked him into the County Jail on charges of inciting a riot, Hoover said.
Five days later, Austin Escobedo, 21, was arrested in Santa Barbara and booked on charges of making terrorist threats and participating in a riot.
Hoover said detectives arrested Jorge Santana, 21, in San Lorenzo on April 17 after he was identified as a suspect who allegedly threw two canisters of tear gas at deputies. He was booked into the County Jail on charges of obstructing and resisting a peace officer with violence.
Justin Mott, 18, of Valencia, was arrested May 21 after detectives identified him as a suspect who allegedly vandalized a car in a grocery store parking lot in Goleta following the disturbance, she said. He was booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s sub-station located in Santa Clarita on charges of felony vandalism.
Hoover said the sheriff’s office has sent four additional cases to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office requesting charges be filed for offenses ranging from being present at a riot to felony vandalism.
The DA’s Office already filed charges against an 18-year-old Los Angeles man accused of throwing a backpack at and injuring a UCSB police officer. Desmond Edwards has pleaded not guilty, and this week a judge dropped bail and allowed his release from custody. He will stand trial for felony allegations of assault, resisting arrest and causing great bodily injury.
“The determined actions of our detectives in identifying and arresting these suspects should cause anyone who believes they can travel to Isla Vista and behave with reckless disregard for others and their property to think twice,” Sheriff Bill Brown said in a statement. “Our message is clear. If you engage in this type of criminal activity we will track you down, arrest you, and bring you to justice.”
Hoover said Sheriff’s detectives estimate about 20,000 people attended this year’s Deltopia, with “an unprecedented number of ‘out-of-towners.’”
She said 470 people were arrested or cited at the event, including 457 adults and 13 juveniles. Thirty percent of adult offenders said they were affiliated with 66 different educational institutions, including two from out of state.
Nearly 70 percent of students were from out-of-area colleges or high schools, according to Hoover.
“The Sheriff’s Office extends its thanks to the public for assisting detectives with the investigation by providing important tips, photographs and video,” she said. “Detectives continue to seek information regarding additional suspects who participated in the civil unrest and committed crimes against people and property.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department’s anonymous tip line at 805.681.4171.
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.