Law and Disorder
Sheriff’s narcotics investigators raided an office near the Santa Barbara Airport on 3/28 and uncovered an estimated $984,000 in marijuana plants. Paul Fischer, 56, who rented the space, was arrested on charges of pot possession and cultivation and was held on $100,000 bail. Fischer was also linked to another indoor growing operation in San Rafael, which police there raided, finding $615,000 worth of marijuana. Sheriff’s representatives called the operation the county’s “most sophisticated indoor marijuana grow” ever.
Police arrested 44-year-old Santa Barbara resident Arturo Gonzalez on felony charges of evading an officer, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence on 3/29. According to a police report, Gonzalez led police on a seven-block chase after he allegedly ran a red light and refused to pull over in the 300 block of East Haley Street. Officers subdued Gonzalez with a Taser in the 400 block of East Yanonali Street.
A five-month investigation by Sheriff’s Department narcotics detectives concluded on 3/21 with searches of two premisesone in Ventura, the other in the 1400 block of San Andres Streetand ended in the arrest of 33-year-old Santa Barbara resident Ivan Flores on multiple drug-related charges as well as the discovery of both a 1.2-pound block of cocaine and $28,000 in cash. Flores is being held on $150,000 bail.
A 3/27 forum at Our Lady of Guadalupe church featured representatives from El Paso, Texas, discussing how their city grappled with its gang problema three-pronged process that included creating neighborhood watch groups, fostering community spirit through aesthetic improvements, and a gang injunction. Santa Barbara native and El Paso City Services Coordinator Mark Alvarado, however, cautioned that one city’s solution might not work for another and that Santa Barbara’s characteristics must be considered.
Following citizen reports of a telephone scam that seeks people’s personal information under the guise of renewing their vehicle registration, the Santa Barbara Police Department has issued the following instructions for people who may find themselves targeted: ask for a callback number, check to see whether registration is due or not, andmost importantlydon’t give out personal information if a call seems suspicious.