Detectives from the Santa Barbara Police Department arrested Jasmine Ochoa — the girlfriend of Angel Varela, suspected shooter in the April 2021 Liberty Street murders — in connection to the shooting that left Angel Castillo and Omar Montiel-Hernandez dead and at least two others wounded on Santa Barbara’s Eastside.
In the weeks following the killings, five suspects were arrested in search-warrant raids executed at homes in Summerland, Carpinteria, and Ventura. Varela, Oscar Martin Trujillo-Gutierrez, and Emilio Perez were all charged with multiple counts: murder, committing more than one murder, and committing murder to further a criminal street gang. Fernando Gutierrez, of Carpinteria, currently faces charges for possession of a firearm, street terrorism as an active participant in a gang, and possession of an assault weapon. Edgardo Romero, of Ventura, is being held without bail on charges of accessory to murder, illegal possession of assault weapons, and unlawful manufacture of a firearm.
Detectives believe that Ochoa was also involved in aiding, assisting, and harboring Varela after the murders. Ochoa, 24, was arrested in Carpinteria on Friday morning without incident. Santa Barbara Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale said that evidence “related to the alleged murders” was found at Ochoa’s residence.
So far, authorities have found several key pieces of evidence while executing search warrants during the investigation: three “non-serialized assault-type rifles,” one revolver, three semi-automatic handguns, eight bulletproof vests, and more than 2,400 rounds of live ammunition — most notably, 16 high-capacity assault-rifle magazines and one high-capacity handgun drum magazine.
Ochoa was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail for accessory to murder and criminal street terrorism, both felonies, and is being held on no bail. Ragsdale said that the investigation is still ongoing, and more information may still be released.