Three men were arrested Thursday in connection with the murders of two young men on Santa Barbara’s Eastside in early January, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
The arrests came during a major law enforcement operation in Summerland and Carpinteria, said Lt. Shawn Hill.
Taken into custody were Angel Eduardo Varela, 26, Oscar Martin Trujillo-Gutierrez, 25, and Emilio Perez, 18, all of Carpinteria, Hill said.
They are accused in the shooting deaths of Angel Castillo, 17, and Omar Montiel-Hernandez, 18, on Jan. 3 in an attack on the 1220 block of Liberty Street, a block-long residential road off South Canada Street between Hutash (formerly Indio Muerto) and Punta Gorda streets.
Two other people were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for medical treatment after the shootings, but their names and ages have not been released.
The three suspects were being booked without bail into Santa Barbara County Jail on warrants alleging murder and attempted murder, Hill said.
They also are facing special-circumstance allegations of committing more than one homicide; criminal acts to further the activities of a street gang; use of a gun in association with a criminal street gang; and committing a felony in association with a criminal street gang, Hill added.
At about 8:30 a.m., county sheriff’s deputies and Santa Barbara police officers converged on locations in Summerland and the city of Carpinteria, and made use of armored Bearcat vehicles, SWAT teams, K-9 units and robots.
One location was a residence on the 1000 block of Cramer Road in the city of Carpinteria, Hill said.
A shelter-in-place order was issued for that area, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Raquel Zick. It was lifted at about 9:50 a.m.
The other location was a residence under construction on the 2300 block of Golden Gate Avenue in Summerland, Hill said.
“The arrests today represent the culmination of weeks of planning and investigative work,” said Acting Police Chief Barney Melekian. “While we recognize that nothing we have done here can bring back the lives that were lost, detectives never stopped working on this case, and hopefully prevented future acts of retaliation which, lead in turn, to more tragedy.
“As a society we must continue to work with the young people in our community to ensure that no more lives are lost.”
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