Jurors in the murder trail of Ricardo Juarez -the 15-year-old accused of killing Luis Angel Linares during a March 2007 gang brawl- reached a verdict on the morning of 10/15: not guilty of murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter. (See more at independent.com/juarezverdict.)

As part of Operation Gator Roll, roughly 60 locations throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties were targeted in a 10/15 law enforcement sweep in response to escalating gang violence and criminal activity. The Santa Barbara Police Department was aided by 18 state, federal, and local agencies in serving arrest and search warrants. A staging area was set up at Earl Warren Showgrounds, where booking took place in the “Dome of Doom,” according to one officer, before offenders were shipped to jail.

The five felony counts against the men who sparked 2007’s Zaca Fire were dropped on 10/9 when Judge Zel Canter ruled that the actions of the workers, Jose Jesus Cabrera and Santiago Iniguez Cervantes, and their employer, Rancho La Laguna LLC, did not constitute recklessness. The defendants still face a misdemeanor charge for not having the proper work permit for doing the grinding work that accidentally sparked the 240,000-acre blaze. (/zaca1016)

A continued investigation by the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotics Enforcement Team led officers to raid a Long Beach meth lab last week, where they found $61,000 in cash, automatic assault rifles, and two kilos of cocaine. The raid followed the arrest of 26 Santa Barbara residents in late July as part of this alleged drugs- and weapons-trafficking ring, which police say was being led by Santa Barbara resident Dionisio Altamirano Ramirez and included several other Santa Barbara residents. (/drugring1016)

A 1:30 a.m. scuffle on the 6500 block of Isla Vista’s Del Playa Drive on 10/11 resulted in one man going to Cottage Hospital with stab wounds. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol managed to detain one alleged attacker, but several other young men are being sought in connection with the stabbing and an altercation that preceded it. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department at 681-4100. (/ivstabbing)

A seven-car pile-up that resulted from an unidentified car changing lanes in front of a Freightliner big-rig truck and causing the latter’s driver to brake and careen into cars driving around him snarled traffic on the southbound lanes of Highway 101 near the Milpas Street exit during evening rush hour on 10/14. A Corona, California, resident was hospitalized with major injuries while a Newbury Park couple sustained minor injuries. (/1011016)

Fifth and sixth graders from Goleta’s Brandon School on 10/9 became the first recent Santa Barbara County students to graduate from DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). The program was stopped by the Sheriff’s Department in 2004 due to budget cuts and concerns about its effectiveness, but Sheriff Bill Brown said he’s happy to have it back, as it allows law enforcement to work with schools in new ways and provides a positive context for kids and cops to interact. (/dare1016)


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