VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that on October 16, 2014, Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew sentenced Laura Leesha Means (DOB 12/31/54) of Pismo Beach, California, to 15 years 8 months in prison. Means was previously convicted by jury of 17 felony counts, including grand theft, money laundering, and filing a false tax return with intent to evade paying taxes. Means then pled no contest to the 13 remaining felony counts and enhancements to which the jury could not reach verdicts, including the aggravated white collar crime enhancement.

Means, a retired deputy sheriff, obtained a real estate sales license and worked as an agent for Troop Real Estate in Camarillo. In 2006, Means purchased a six-acre vacant parcel of land in Camarillo. Means made numerous false statements on the loan application to acquire the property. She then began marketing multiple one-acre lots for sale even though the property was not legally subdivided until July 2008.

Means convinced two buyers to release their purchase funds from escrow early so she could use their money solely to make improvements at the property. In September 2007, after receiving $285,000 from one victim, Means immediately used the funds to pay personal expenditures such as her mortgage on her residence, a kitchen remodel, and her credit card bills. Means failed to report this money as income to the State Franchise Tax Board.

In September 2008, Means obtained an additional $285,000 in cash from a second victim for the purpose of developing the property. Means embezzled approximately one-half of this second victim’s proceeds and used the money to pay her personal bills. Means also failed to report this cash as income to the State Franchise Tax Board in 2008.

This case was the result of a joint investigation by the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, the California Bureau of Real Estate and Franchise Tax Board.

In addition to the prison sentence, Means was ordered to pay restitution and fines in the following amounts: $912,479 in restitution to victims; $155,692 in restitution to the Franchise Tax Board; and a mandatory fine of $1,140,000. As result of her conviction, Means’ real estate license was ordered indefinitely suspended by the California Bureau of Real Estate

The District Attorney’s Office filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to preserve approximately $80,000 currently under Means’ control for purposes of securing victim restitution. Further proceedings concerning the disposition of these funds are scheduled for November 20, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 43 of the Ventura County Superior Court.

 


 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Today, at approximately 11:10 am, a Toyota sedan was driven through the front window of Wells Fargo Bank on North Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. For unknown reasons, as the vehicle was being parked into a marked parking space, it continued forward out of the parking space, over a sidewalk and planter and through the bank’s window. The vehicle continued moving forward inside the bank and came to rest after striking a table and an unoccupied desk.

Neither the driver, nor anyone else was injured in the incident. A large floor to roof window was shattered. Furniture inside the bank and the vehicle’s windshield was also damaged.

The collision is under investigation by the Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Traffic Bureau. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call (805) 494-8271.

Nature of Incident: Vehicle into a Business
Report Number: 14-23574
Location: Wells Fargo Bank, 1596 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, CA
Date & Time: 10-15-14, 11:10 am
Unit Responsible: Thousand Oaks Police Department Traffic Bureau
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Carmen Magpie Gomez Thousand Oaks 76
Prepared by: Sergeant Brad Clifton
Media Release Date: 10-15-14
Follow-Up Contact: Deputy Marco Hinahon (805) 494-8271
Approved by: Captain Jim Fryhoff

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

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Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue, the Sheriff’s Air Unit, and Ojai Station Patrol Deputies responded to a lost eighty-three year old hiker in the Ventura Riverbed Preserve in Meiner’s Oaks. The subject was located in good health and reunited with her family.

On October 14, 2014, at about 6:30 pm, Olga Avila of Meiners Oaks went to walk her dog on the Oso Trailhead in the Ventura Riverbed Preserve. At about 7:30 pm, Ms. Avila telephoned her daughter stating she was disorientated, that it was getting dark and she could not find her way home. The Ventura County Sheriff’s 911 dispatch center was contacted and initiated a patrol response. At about 7:45 pm deputies arrived on scene at the trailhead and began a search for Ms. Avila.

With family members on scene, deputies were able to establish telephone contact with Ms. Avila and ensure she was in good health. However, she could not be easily located even with the land marks and clues given by Ms. Avila over the phone. The search operation expanded to include members of the Upper Ojai Search & Rescue Team. These highly trained professional searchers began deploying to possible trails and locations where Ms. Avila was believed to be located.

At about 10:00 pm, the search effort for Ms. Avila expanded once again with the inclusion of the Sheriff’s Air Unit and a ranger from the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. At about 10:30 pm, This coordinated effort led to the discovery of Ms. Avila’s dog who had strayed away from her side. Once her dog was located, Ms. Avila was then located by the Sheriff’s Air Unit a moderate distance away in the river bottom. Ms. Avila was found in good health and was assisted out of the river bottom by members of search & rescue, and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Ranger.

With the change of the seasons, the days are starting to shorten. If you decide to enjoy a late afternoon hike it is always a good practice to have a small flashlight on hand should you find yourself out past dark unexpectedly. Always let someone know where you are hiking, and what time you expect to return. Lastly, it is also a good practice to be prepared with some essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, etc. An example of outdoor essentials for hiking can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scout_Outdoor_Essentials .

Nature of Incident: Missing hiker rescued by Sheriff’s Search & Rescue.
Report Number: 14-0023542
Location: Oso Trailhead, Ventura Riverbed Preserve, Meiners Oaks CA
Date & Time: 10/14/2014 @ 7:50 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Ojai Patrol Station, Ventura County Sheriff Search & Rescue / Air Unit
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Olga Avila, Meiner’s Oaks, 83
Prepared by: Sgt. Donoghue #2735
Media Release Date: 10/15/2014
Follow-Up Contact: Sgt. Rick Harwood, Ojai Patrol Station, (805) 646-1414
Approved by: Captain Dave Kenney #2612

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 


 

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that Silvano Duran (DOB 2/13/86), of Santa Paula, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of failure to care for animals. He was then sentenced by Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman to 30 days in the work release program, and 36 months of probation. Duran was ordered to pay restitution, and not to own or possess any animals while on probation.
This case stems from an incident on March 11, 2014, when the Santa Paula Police Department responded to a call of several dogs fighting. When officers arrived, they observed 17 dogs covered in blood with extensive injuries. At least seven of the dogs were fighting each other. Officers immediately seized the 17 dogs and transferred them to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC). The dogs were medically treated and housed at SPARC. The dogs are currently awaiting adoption through SPARC.

 

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a $28.4 million settlement with Aaron’s, Inc., the second largest rent-to-own business in the nation, to resolve allegations that the company violated California consumer protection and privacy laws.

“Aaron’s concealed its illegal privacy and business practices from customers in a deceptive attempt to avoid California’s robust consumer protection laws and increase its profits,” Attorney General Harris said. “This settlement provides millions of dollars in restitution to consumers and requires Aaron’s to make significant changes to its business practices.”

The settlement requires Aaron’s to refund $25 million to California customers who signed lease agreements between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2014 and to pay $3.4 million in civil penalties and fees.
Approximately 100,000 California customers will be eligible for restitution.

The complaint alleges CONTINUED »

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Headquarters Station patrol deputies detained a subject fleeing the scene where a nearby brush fire started in an unincorporated area east of the city of Ventura. After further investigation, the subject was arrested for arson and prowling.

At about 1:15 p.m. a brush fire was reported in the hills north in Harmon Canyon about one mile north of Foothill Rd. Deputies quickly arrived on scene and received information from a citizen in the area of a subject near the origin of the brush fire. Deputies observed a subject, later identified as Garrett Smith, running from the area of the fire. They detained Smith in the 7500 block of Foothill Rd. and pursued an investigation as a possible arson.

A Ventura County Fire Department Arson Investigator assisted deputies with the arson investigation. Smith was subsequently arrested for arson and prowling. He was booked into the Pre-Trial Detention Facility with bail set at $60,000.

The Ventura County Fire Department reported the brush fire burned less than 50 acres and about 150 firefighters fought the blaze. Other agencies responding to the fire included Ventura City Fire Department, CAL FIRE, Los Angeles County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, Ventura Police Department, and California Highway Patrol. Firefighters worked overnight and continue mop-up work as of late Tuesday morning.

Nature of Incident: Suspect Arrested for Arson Related to “Foothill” Brush Fire
Report Number: 14-22329
Location: 7500 block of Foothill Rd., Ventura
Date & Time: 9/29/14 1:50 p.m.
Unit(s) Responsible: Headquarters Station Patrol
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(S) Smith, Garrett Oxnard 24
Prepared by: Captain Don Aguilar
Media Release Date: September 30, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Captain Don Aguilar (805) 797-7349
don.aguilar@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Patti Salas

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

VENTURA, California — District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that on September 19, 2014, Cimitrio Ambriz Cervantes (DOB 05/05/68) of Mission Hills was sentenced to serve 365 days in jail for felony trafficking in food stamp benefits. Cervantes was arrested in a multi-agency crackdown on store owners who pay cash to recipients of government food assistance benefits. This case was the result of a joint investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, and the United States Secret Service.

CalFresh and the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provide nutrition assistance benefits to eligible, low-income individuals and families. It is illegal for a store owner to redeem these food assistance benefits for cash. Cervantes is the owner of Victor’s Market a.k.a. La Victoria Market in Fillmore. Between January 24, 2012, and May 8, 2014, Cervantes illegally received $75,557 in EBT benefits while working at his market.

Cervantes paid full restitution of $75,557 prior to his sentencing. He was placed on three years of felony probation and banned for life from participating in the SNAP and CalFresh programs. His brother, Fernando Ambriz Cervantes (DOB 6/26/66), was previously convicted of a misdemeanor for trafficking in food stamps while working at the same market.

 
July – August 2014 Edition
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

A message from Detective Ray Dominguez:
Farm Watch readers, a review of recent crime/incident reports reveal we are experiencing a number of burglaries at locations spread out across the unincorporated areas of the county including the Oxnard Plains, Somis, and Santa Paula/Fillmore. The burglars are targeting storage barns and conex storage containers. The crooks are stealing gardening equipment including chainsaws, leaf blowers, “weed-whackers,” and other power equipment. During the commission of the burglaries, the suspects are also stealing farm vehicles that are being used to transport the stolen equipment. The stolen vehicles are then used in subsequent burglaries and later dumped when a different vehicle is stolen at the secondary location.

I have found that victims reporting these burglaries are routinely leaving the vehicle keys in the ignition. This is a bad practice that simply makes it easier for the crooks to steal your vehicle!

Please don’t leave the keys to your trucks, tractors, UTV’s, ATV’s and other equipment in the ignition. Make sure that your vehicles are stored in a secure manner and the keys to the vehicles and equipment are stored apart. Bring vehicles into secure areas overnight and avoid leaving them in farm fields or other unsecure areas. Vehicles that are left in plain sight attract vandals and thieves looking to damage or steal your property. If vehicles or other equipment are being stored over an extended period of time, you may want to consider disconnecting power supplies, removing car batteries or installing kill-switches. If storing trailers or other portable equipment, you may consider removing the tires or placing a parking “wheel boot” type of theft deterrent device on it. There are plenty of vendors on the internet marketing these devices for various applications.

With regard to CONTINUED »

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, a burglary occurred in the 600 block of McAndrews Road, in Ojai. The suspects stole jewelry, computers, credit cards, and other miscellaneous property. Investigators from the Ojai Patrol Station, working with detectives from the Ventura Police Department, identified one male suspect, Frank Morales, and one female suspect, Mellissa Carrillo. The two suspects had made purchases with the victim’s credit cards in Ventura.

On August 28, 2014, it was learned Frank Morales was the focus of a parallel investigation by the Oxnard and Port Hueneme Police Departments related to a separate burglary. The Port Hueneme Police Department was successful in apprehending Morales after a brief foot pursuit. Working collaboratively, Ventura Sheriff, Oxnard and Port Hueneme detectives were able to later locate and apprehend Mellissa Carrillo. Detectives are actively working to recover the victim’s stolen property and determine whether the two are responsible for any other burglaries in the area. Both Morales and Carrillo were booked at the Ventura County Main Jail for forgery, burglary, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy.

Nature of Incident: Residential Burglary Arrests Made
Report Number: 14-19355
Location: 600 Block McAndrews Road, Ojai
Date & Time: August 28, 2014, 2:30 p.m.
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office – Ojai Station Investigations Unit
Prepared by: Sgt. Kevin Donoghue (805) 797-7131
Media Release Date: August 29, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Det. Michael Harris, Ojai Investigations (805) 646-1414
Approved by: Capt. Watkins

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On 8-27-2014, the Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Bike Team, along with agents from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), conducted Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies (IMPACT) inspections at thirteen off-sale retail locations. Off-sale means merchants are authorized to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises where sold.

IMPACT inspections remind licensees of the responsibilities and accountability associated with the sale of alcohol. The officers ensure licensed premises are in compliance with State and local laws. The officers may also look for loitering, litter, graffiti, posted signs, slot machines, illegal weapons, or other violations.

Although the focus of IMPACT inspections is to educate, officers will take action if they observe any major violations. A checklist is used to note any violations, and follow-up will be conducted to verify problem areas have been corrected. During the inspections, only minor violations were found that were corrected immediately. No major violations were observed.

The Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Bike Team will continue to conduct periodic inspections in the future.

Nature of Incident: Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) IMPACT Inspections
Report Number: N/A
Location: Various Alcohol Retail Locations - City of Thousand Oaks
Date & Time: August 27, 2014
Unit(s) Responsible: Thousand Oaks Police Department’s Bike Team / ABC
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
N/A
Prepared by: Sergeant Glenn Axelrod #3114
Media Release Date: August 28, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant Glenn Axelrod 805-947-8097, or
ABC at www.abc.ca.gov
Approved by: Captain Jim Fryhoff

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On August 28, 2014, The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service reference a commercial burglary at a ranch in Somis. The ranch has been the target of several burglaries over the past two weeks. The initial investigation revealed that unidentified suspect(s) forced entry into a large storage building and stole various gardening tools including chainsaws, leaf blowers, and “weed-whackers.” The suspect(s) also stole a flatbed truck from the location. The stolen vehicle was later recovered at the scene of a second burglary location in the Oxnard Plains. While investigating the second reported burglary, deputies discovered that a vehicle was stolen from that location as well, and is still outstanding.

Citizens are asked to report burglaries immediately to the Sheriff’s Office and to stay out of the crime scene to protect potential evidence. The Sheriff’s Office also recommends that vehicles be stored in a secure manner, with keys kept away from the vehicle. We also recommend that citizens mark their equipment for identification and maintain record of the make, model, and serial numbers.

Anyone with information related to this series of burglaries is asked to contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office or provide information anonymously via the Ventura County Crime Stoppers.

Nature of Incident: Recent Agricultural Area Burglaries
Report Numbers: 14-18829, 14-19541, 14-19619, 14-19620
Location: 3000 Block of Los Angeles Avenue, Somis
Date & Time: August 28, 2014 @ 01:30 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Camarillo Police Department Investigations Bureau
Prepared by: Detective Ray Dominguez #3574
Media Release Date: August 28, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Detective TJ DeSalvo (805) 388-5157
tj.desalvo@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Renee Ferguson

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Law enforcement investigators have interrupted a complex criminal enterprise that was responsible for the distribution of large quantities of narcotics from Mexico into Ventura County and other parts of the United States. The investigation has culminated with the arrests of several individuals, including influential Mexican Mafia members. The suspects have been indicted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

The year-long joint investigation was led by investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office who formed a task force comprised of various local and federal agencies. The investigation found that members of the Mexican Mafia were conspiring with Drug Trafficking Organizations (D.T.O.) and the Sinaloa Cartel to import narcotics into the United States, including Ventura County.

The investigation found that the Mexican Mafia members controlled a vast network and used proceeds of the drug sales to fund their criminal enterprise. The Mexican Mafia used its reputation for violence to extort and control drug trafficking. The criminal origination also distributed narcotics to local gangs for the purposes of sales. Some of the proceeds were used to purchase guns for various gang members.

Thus far, detectives have seized $4,375,000 in cash and illicit drugs with a street value of over $5,000,000. The indictments list charges including extortion, conspiracy, criminal street gang enhancements, sales of controlled substances, and possession for sales of controlled substances.

Specifics on evidence seized:
 35 firearms
 69 pounds of methamphetamine
 Several liters of liquid methamphetamine
 52 pounds of cocaine
 3 pounds of tar heroin
 28 pounds of “China White” heroin

Nature of Incident: Investigators Arrest Suspects in National & International Criminal
Enterprise Ring
Location: Ventura County / United States / South America
Date & Time: August 26, 2014 @ 1:00 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Ventura County District Attorney’s Office
Oxnard Police Department
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Drug Enforcement Agency
Prepared by: Captain Don Aguilar
Media Release Date: August 26, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Captain Don Aguilar
• (805) 797-7349
don.aguilar@ventura.org
Sergeant Denise Sliva
• (805) 947-9258
denise.sliva@ventura.org
Approved by: Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis

 

San Francisco, CA – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and state partners, today announced a settlement with Bank of America to resolve federal and state civil claims related to Bank of America’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities prior to January 1, 2009.

Nationally, the settlement totals $16.65 billion including cash and credit for consumer relief. California will recover $300 million in damages, which will reimburse the state’s pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, for losses on investments in mortgage-backed securities of Bank of America and its affiliates. California is also guaranteed at least $500 million in consumer relief credits.

“Bank of America profited by misleading investors about the risky nature of the mortgage-backed securities it sold,” Attorney General Harris said. “This settlement makes our pension funds whole for the financial losses caused by these misrepresentations and brings help to hard-pressed homeowners and communities in California.”

Nationwide, the bank will pay a total of $9.65 billion in cash, and provide $7 billion in consumer relief credits. The consumer relief includes loan forgiveness to lessen the burden on underwater homeowners and distressed borrowers, help to affected communities through donation of properties, financing of affordable rental housing, and support for housing counseling and legal aid. The consumer relief to California includes at least $380 million of credit in first lien principal forgiveness.

As part of the settlement, Bank of America acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to investors about the mortgage loans it securitized in residential mortgage-backed securities. The settlement does not absolve Bank of America or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

An investigation conducted by Attorney General Harris showed that the offering documents for the securities failed to accurately disclose the true characteristics of many of the underlying mortgages, and that due diligence to weed out poor quality loans had not been adequately performed.

The settlement with Bank of America arises from the investigation into mortgage-backed securities by Attorney General Harris’ Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which was formed in May 2011 to comprehensively investigate misconduct in the mortgage industry. The Attorney General's additional efforts to investigate the mortgage crisis include securing an estimated $20 billion for California in the National Mortgage Settlement and sponsoring the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, a package of laws instituting permanent mortgage-related reforms.

In July 2014, Attorney General Harris announced a settlement with Citigroup Inc. of nearly $200 million over its misrepresentations in residential mortgage-backed securities sold to CalPERS and CalSTRS. In November of last year, a settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. recovered $300 million for CalPERS and CalSTRS.

Bank of America customers can call 877.488.7814 for more information.

For more information on the U.S. DOJ settlement visit: http://www.justice.gov/

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On August 14, 2014, at 9:50 a.m., a deputy assigned to the Camarillo station was on routine patrol in the 1300 block of Del Norte Road. The deputy observed an adult male near the businesses in the area that appeared to be injured and unresponsive. The Ventura County Fire Dept. and an ambulance were summoned. The male was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Major Crimes Detectives are handling the investigation. Anyone with information about this incident can call Detective Albert Ramirez at (805) 384-4738.

The deceased male's identity is not being released at this time, pending family notification by the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office.

Nature of Incident: Suspicious Death
Report Number: 14-18518
Location: 1300 block Del Norte Rd
Date & Time: August 14, 2014 / 9:50 AM
Unit(s) Responsible Sheriff's Major Crimes
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Adult Male
Prepared by: Sergeant Denise Sliva
Media Release Date: August 14, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant Denise Sliva, (805) 947-9258, Denise.sliva@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Chris Dunn

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

An aerial reconnaissance mission discovered illegal marijuana cultivation in the Los Padres National Forest north of the City of Ojai. One suspect was arrested.

In July 2014, Sheriff’s Air Unit and narcotics detectives conducted an aerial reconnaissance mission in search of marijuana growing illegally in the Ventura County backcountry. Investigators located a large marijuana garden in the Los Padres National Forest north of the City of Ojai, in the Rose Valley area.

On August 12, a follow up flight was made in preparation for an eradication scheduled for August 14. It was discovered that approximately three fourths of the plants had been harvested. Investigators were dropped into the site and were searching for evidence when the Air Unit saw two subjects running through the brush. Detectives chased one subject through the heavy brush until he was eventually lost. The helicopter was able to maintain visual contact while another helicopter was summoned to bring additional personnel. Upon the arrival of the second helicopter, Josue Cardenas was taken into custody by a member of the Sheriff’s Air Unit. He was booked into the Sheriff’s Main Jail for cultivation of marijuana and resisting arrest.

On August 14, members of the Sheriff’s Mountain Marijuana Eradication Team, the California National Guard, and the California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (C.A.M.P.) eradicated the illegal marijuana cultivation. 847 marijuana plants, 5 to 6 feet tall, were eradicated and an additional 12 pounds of processed marijuana was seized. The campsite and cooking locations were removed as well as hundreds of feet of irrigation tubing, fertilizers, and trash. The suspects had diverted water from a natural spring approximately one half mile away. It appeared that several people had been working in the cultivation prior to the eradication.

Nature of Incident: Marijuana cultivation eradication and arrest
Report Number: 14-24769
Location: Los Padres National Forest, Rose Valley area
Date & Time: August 12 August 14, 2014
Unit(s) Responsible: Sheriff’s Mountain Marijuana Eradication Team, Sheriff’s Air Unit, California National Guard, California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (C.A.M.P.)
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Josue Cardenas Kerman 23
Prepared by: Sergeant M. Horne
Media Release Date: 8/14/2014
Follow-Up Contact: Captain Don Aguilar
805-797-7349
Approved by:
Captain Randy Watkins

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Acting on a tip, narcotics investigators discovered an illegal marijuana cultivation.

In July 2014, narcotics investigators received information of a possible marijuana cultivation on Monterey St, in the unincorporated area of Ojai known as Mira Monte. Detectives drove to this area and were able to see several marijuana plants in the backyard of a residence.

On July 18, 2014, a Search Warrant was served at the house. Investigators located 99 marijuana plants, 6’- 8’ tall. The search of the residence revealed 6.6 pounds of processed marijuana, over $7,000.00 in cash, and two guns.

The occupants of the residence, Barry Lee Case, and his son, Barry Niel Case, were arrested for possession of marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana. Both were booked into the Sheriff’s Main Jail

Nature of Incident: Illegal Marijuana Cultivation Arrests
Report Number: 14-16328
Location: 100 Block of Monterey St, Ojai
Date & Time: July 18, 2014, 1130 hours
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Narcotics Bureau, West County Street Team, Santa Paula Police Department
Prepared by: Sgt Mike Horne
Media Release Date: August 6, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Captain Don Aguilar
805-797-7349
Approved by: Captain M. Franke

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Investigators from the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit received a Crime Stoppers Tip at the end of July 2014, stating that Anthony Barragan was dealing cocaine and prescription drugs from his residence in the 1800 block of Dorrit Street, Newbury Park. The tip detailed heavy drug traffic occurring at the residence during all hours of the day. Investigators conducted surveillance at the location on July 31, and almost immediately saw Anthony Barragan conduct a drug deal with a 17 year old juvenile. The juvenile drove a short distance away from Barragan’s residence and then appeared to use cocaine in plain view of the detectives. Investigators arranged for the juvenile to be stopped by patrol deputies. Patrol deputies ultimately arrested the juvenile for under the influence and possession of cocaine. Based on the observations of the investigating detectives, combined with the crime stoppers tip, a search warrant was sought and obtained for Barragan’s residence.

On 8-1-14, investigators watched Barragan’s residence. Detectives saw Barragan get into a vehicle that arrived in front of his residence. Investigators, suspecting Barragan was conducting a drug deal, detained the occupants of the vehicle and Barragan a short distance away. Investigators confirmed Barragan was conducting a cocaine deal with the driver, Angel Bracamontes, and his passenger, Roselyn Marceleno. Barragan was arrested for sales of cocaine, as well as the sales charge to a minor from the day prior. Bracamontes and Marceleno were arrested for possession of cocaine.

As detectives were planning to serve the search warrant at the residence, Jesse Place walked out of the house and drove away. He was also detained and found to be under the influence of cocaine. Investigators served the search warrant at the house and discovered additional cocaine possessed for sale in Barragan’s bedroom. Barragan was additionally arrested for possession for sales of cocaine.

Barragan remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. He is facing several years in prison for selling cocaine to a minor. Bracamontes, Marceleno, Place, and the 17 year old all have pending court dates.

In the recent past, investigators from the pharmaceutical crimes unit have made a total of ten arrests of teenagers or young adults selling and possessing cocaine in the areas of Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake.

The Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit is a full time task force comprised of members of law enforcement from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Simi Valley Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation, and the California Highway Patrol. The task force’s main mission is combatting the transfer of legal prescription medication to the illegal market. A secondary, and equally important mission, is identifying and stopping emerging drug trends among our county’s youth.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office East County Narcotics Street Team assisted in this investigation.

Nature of Incident:
Ventura County Crime Stoppers Tip Leads to Five Arrests for Cocaine Charges
Report Number:
14-17525
Location:
1800 block of Dorrit Street, Newbury Park
Date & Time:
July 31 – August 1, 2014
Unit(s) Responsible:
Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit
Prepared by:
Sergeant Victor Fazio
Media Release Date:
August 4, 2014
Follow-Up Contact:
Sergeant Victor Fazio
(805) 383-8700
victor.fazio@ventura.org
Approved by:
Captain Curt Rothschiller

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Today, at approximately 10:56AM, a Thousand Oaks Motorcycle Officer attempted to stop a vehicle traveling erratically in the area of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Moorpark Road. A short pursuit ensued and the driver of the Dodge pick-up truck lost control, colliding with a fence and a tree which caused it to lose a front tire. The vehicle continued westbound on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, toward oncoming traffic, when the driver fled the moving vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop in the center median prior to entering the east bound lanes of Thousand Oaks Blvd. Two passengers remained in the truck until it stopped and were immediately taken into custody.

Approximately thirty minutes later, after an extensive search by the Sheriff’s K9 Unit, Air Unit, and the CA Highway Patrol, the driver of the vehicle, identified as Thomas Meza, was arrested in a nearby residential neighborhood. Meza was located with the assistance of citizens who called in and advised his whereabouts.

Mesa and passenger Christopher Rodriguez were taken to area hospitals for treatment and released into Sheriff’s custody. Both men were arrested and booked into the Sheriff’s Pre-Trial Detention Facility. Ashley Moraga was also arrested and booked into the Sheriff’s Pre-Trial Detention Facility. All three subjects were booked for numerous charges including Felony Evading / Hit and Run, possession of stolen property, warrants, being under the influence of drugs, and other potential drug related charges. Thomas Meza was also booked for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.

Due to the nature of this incident, Investigators are continuing to gather information which could lead to additional victims of theft as well as additional charges to the suspects. Anyone with any pertinent information regarding this case is asked to contact the Thousand Oaks PD Traffic Bureau / Investigations Bureau.

Nature of Incident: Pursuit Ending in Arrest of three Individuals
Report Number: RB#14-17722
Location: 100 Block of Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks CA
Date & Time: August 4, 2014 10:56 AM
Unit Responsible: Thousand Oaks Police Department Traffic Bureau
Thousand Oaks Police Department Investigations Bureau
Prepared by: Sgt. B. Payton
805.494.8246
Media Release Date: August 4, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Deputy Marcos Moreno
805.494.8271
Approved by: Captain Mike Hartmann

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

At approximately 12:45 a.m., deputies responded to a call of a stabbing in the 100 block of Holt Street in the unincorporated area of Ventura. A fight between two male subjects led to the victim being fatally stabbed. The victim, Devin Morris, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Major Crimes Detectives conducted numerous interviews and searches, ultimately leading to the identification and arrest of Howard Lovette for the homicide. Lovette was booked into the Pre-Trial Detention Facility with a bail of $500,000.00.

Anyone with information about the investigation is encouraged to call Major Crimes, Detective John Gleason at (805) 384-4727.

Nature of Incident: Murder
Report Number: RB# 14-16690
Location: 100 Block of Holt Street (Ventura Unincorporated)
Date & Time: July 23, 2014 @ approximately 12:45 a.m.
Unit(s) Responsible: Patrol / Major Crimes
Prepared by: Sergeant Denise Sliva
Media Release Date: July 23, 2014
Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant John Gleason, (805) 384-4727
John.Gleason@ventura.org
Approved by: Commander Brent Kerr

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On July 19, 2014, deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office conducted compliance checks at the residences of forty registered sex offenders in the communities of Saticoy, El Rio, Nyeland Acres, Hollywood Beach, Silver Strand Beach and the Rincon. The compliance checks were part of the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) grant.

Thirty five of the forty registered sex offenders were in compliance with their registration requirement. Five of the registrants were not contacted because they were not home or had moved. Sheriff’s detectives will follow-up to determine if the registrants are out-of-compliance.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting similar sweeps throughout the county. The purpose is to verify registered sex offenders are living at their reported residences and in compliance with any probation or parole terms.

Residents of Ventura County can visit the Megan’s Law website (www.meganslaw.ca.gov) to familiarize themselves with the sex registrants in their community.

Nature of Incident: Sex Registrant Compliance Checks
Report Number: N/A
Location: Unincorporated Areas of Ventura and Oxnard

Date & Time: July 19, 2014
Units Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Ventura County Probation Department
Deputy Preparing Media Release: Sergeant Anthony Aguirre
Media Release Date: July 22, 2013
Follow-Up Contact: Investigator Jim Botting / 805-384-4743
Jim.botting@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Patti Salas

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against person(s) responsible for crimes within our community. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).