Ventura County youth linked to bystander murder in Santa Barbara, more news

The entrance to Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara.

The entrance to Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara.

Here’s a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County and regional agencies:

3 more arrests in killing of Camarillo bystander

Three new suspects have been arrested and charged in connection with December’s fatal shooting of a bystander from Camarillo at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara.

The latest update from Santa Barbara authorities now includes Ventura County residents — all juveniles — among the suspects.

Previously, four men from the Santa Barbara area, all in their early 20s, were arrested in January along with a Santa Barbara-area teen.

The shooting took place around 8:40 pm on Dec. 9 when the victim, Camarillo resident Robert Gutierrez, 52, was walking with his wife along Stearns Wharf, a popular area where State Street converges with the beach at Cabrillo Boulevard.

Gutierrez, described by police as an innocent bystander, was struck by one of the rounds fired during an altercation between two groups near the base of the wharf. He died Dec. 20 at the Santa Barbara hospital.

Authorities had previously said the Santa Barbara-area suspects had alleged ties to a street gang in that city.

With the new arrests made Thursday, the Santa Barbara Police Department said the opposing group involved in December’s altercation was comprised of Ventura County residents with ties to Ventura County street gangs.

Thursday’s announcement followed the arrests of the three juveniles after police served search and arrest warrants at multiple locations in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

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Several other agencies assisted, the department said in a release. The specific locations of the searches were not provided and police officials did not return calls requesting more information. Ventura Police Department officials said they had helped with a search, but it wasn’t clear as of Friday which other local agencies may have assisted.

A firearm was recovered during Thursday’s operation but Santa Barbara police said they did not yet know whether it was the gun used in the shooting.

On Friday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office said it had filed charges against the three teens arrested a day earlier.

Two of the juveniles, both age 15, were charged with murder and the special allegation that they discharged a firearm proximately causing death.

The third, age 16, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and illegal possession of an unregistered gun, prosecutors said.

The three youths were said to be in custody and scheduled for arraignment in Santa Maria Juvenile Court on Tuesday. The teens’ genders and cities of residence were not provided.

Prosecutors in January had charged three of the adult suspects with murder and various special allegations. The fourth was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call the police department’s detective bureau at 805-897-2347.

20-plus pounds of meth, other drugs seized

Some of the narcotics and other evidence seized by Ventura County Sheriff's detectives during a recent drug investigation.

Some of the narcotics and other evidence seized by Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives during a recent drug investigation.

VENTURA COUNTY — Local authorities recently arrested two men, one a former Simi Valley resident, suspected of supplying significant amounts of drugs in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

The investigation ultimately led to the seizure of more than 21 pounds of methamphetamine along with other drugs, cash and firearms.

In October, narcotics detectives with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office identified one of the men as a possible drug supplier. The 53-year-old lived in Simi Valley at the time but later moved to Chatsworth.

The second man, a 42-year-old resident of the Sylmar area in Los Angeles, was later identified as an alleged co-conspirator.

In mid-December, detectives conducted warrant searches of the Chatsworth man’s vehicle and home.

The following month, they detained the Sylmar man as he reportedly delivered 8 pounds of meth in Simi Valley. A warrant search of the man’s residence turned up several hundred counterfeit oxycodone pills known as M30s and a large amount of cash believed to have come from drug sales.

Some of the drugs, counterfeit pills and cash recently seized by Ventura County Sheriff's detectives during an investigation.

Some of the drugs, counterfeit pills and cash recently seized by Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives during an investigation.

In all, detectives confiscated more than 21 pounds of meth, about 4 ounces of fentanyl, 3 ounces of heroin and the counterfeit pills, which were believed to be fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. In addition, cash and two handguns were also seized. Sheriff’s officials said the 208 grams of opioids involved amounted to about 5,200 doses.

The case was submitted to the US Attorney’s Office for filing consideration.

Teen’s alleged graffiti spree lasted months

THOUSAND OAKS — Authorities say they arrested a Thousand Oaks teen whose graffiti has marred city and private property since December.

The 15-year-old male allegedly spray-painted walls of city buildings and private apartment complexes as well as tables, benches and walls at city parks, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, which is contracted for police services in Thousand Oaks.

The graffiti included both individual monikers and wording consistent with local gangs, said Deputy Weston Price. The teen’s alleged activities were carried out over a two-month period and were readily visible along the city’s main streets and thoroughfares, he said.

The estimated property damage totaled more than $2,000, sheriff’s officials said.

Detectives working the case were ultimately able to identify the teen as the suspect. During a probation search of his home, they reportedly found additional evidence linking him to the graffiti vandalism. The youth was arrested on suspicion of graffiti vandalism for the benefit of a street gang and was housed at county juvenile hall.

Thousand Oaks residents can report graffiti to police at 805-654-9511. After police investigate, the markings can be removed. The city’s graffiti removal hotline can be reached at 805-449-2488 or

Items may be updated.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Roundup: Local youths linked to Stearns Wharf bystander murder, more

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