A months-long investigation has led to the arrests of two gang members — with two more still at large — in a case involving robbery, elder abuse, extortion, possession of firearms and other crimes, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The sheriff’s gang enforcement detectives concluded a three-month investigation by arresting Mike Avila, 28, of Ventura, and Gilbert Garcia, 43, of Santa Paula, Sgt. Mark Williams said.
He said gang detectives were trying to locate two more suspects associated with the case who are believed to be in the Santa Maria area.
Avila was booked into Ventura County Jail on charges including possession of a concealed weapon, possession of a loaded firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, and a gang enhancement, Williams said.
His bail was set at $1 million.
Williams said Garcia was arrested on charges of possessing a stolen vehicle, extorting money or other property from another by the means of force or fear, inflicting mental suffering upon an elder, embezzling from an elder, intimidating a witness, robbery, and a criminal street gang enhancement.
Mark Silvas, 28, of Santa Maria is among those being sought.
Authorities have issued a $135,000 warrant for his arrest related to vehicle theft and a gang-related charge, Williams said.
Rosalio Estrada, 27, of Santa Maria is wanted for vehicle theft, extortion and gang related charges, and a $150,000 warrant was issued for his arrest, Williams said.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Estrada or Silvas is asked to contact the sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4150.