A fugitive wanted on charges of molesting and raping a Carpinteria girl is now in custody in Santa Barbara County after a four-month investigation that led officials to Maryland, where he was arrested earlier this year.
Santos Javier Guevara-Oliva, 33, was brought back to the county this week by sheriff’s deputies, who retrieved the suspect from Maryland, where he was in custody on charges of forcibly molesting and raping a child under the age of 14 in January.
Investigators learned of the crimes on Jan. 23, after Guevara-Oliva had allegedly sexually assaulted the daughter of his girlfriend, with whom he was living.
“When Guevara-Oliva heard he was going to be brought in for questioning regarding the abuse, he fled the area,” said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The District Attorney’s Office filed charges against him in February, and sheriff’s detectives contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, after they suspected that Guevara-Oliva may have been in the country illegally.
ICE stated that Guevara-Oliva is a citizen of El Salvador and had been previously deported from the United States as an aggravated felon in December 2010.
Hoover said he was convicted of grand theft and false imprisonment in Santa Barbara in 2009 and sentenced to two years in prison.
“At an unknown place and time, he illegally re-entered the United States and took up residence in Carpinteria,” Hoover said.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives discovered Guevara-Oliva was staying at a relative’s home in Hyattsville, Md., where he was arrested on Feb. 25 by federal immigration officers.
“Due to the fact that Guevara-Oliva fought extradition, a warrant was obtained from the Governor’s Office to bring him back to our jurisdiction,” Hoover said.
If convicted, she said, Guevara-Oliva could spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole.
This is the first time an alleged sex offender has faced such a sentence in Santa Barbara County and one of the few times this appears to have occurred throughout the state, according to a statement sent Friday from the District Attorney’s Office.
Guevara-Oliva is in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail, being held without bail and his arraignment is scheduled for June 3 in Dept. 8 of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.