Four people, including two Lompoc residents, were arrested late last month following a five-month investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office into a methamphetamine trafficking operation.
Gilbert Villareal, 34, and 27-year-old Rae-Ahnie Lopez, both of Lompoc, as well as 43-year-old Rene Ramirez and 35-year-old Monica Avalos, both of Los Angeles, were arrested by Sheriff's Office detectives Dec. 30 and booked into the County Jail, the Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Detectives seized more than 4 pounds of methamphetamine and $7,000 in cash during the investigation, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Villareal was booked on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales, transportation of methamphetamine for sales and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Lopez was booked on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales.
Ramirez, who is suspected of being a supplier, and Avalos were arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales, transportation of methamphetamine for sales and concealment of a controlled substance in a false compartment inside a vehicle.
On Dec. 29, according to the Sheriff's Office, narcotics detectives initiated surveillance of Villareal, who was staying at a hotel in Lompoc.
While conducting surveillance, Ramirez was observed driving through the hotel parking lot.
As surveillance continued, Ramirez was followed to a second hotel in Lompoc, where an enforcement stop was conducted.
Ramirez and his girlfriend, Avalos, were detained without incident and transported to the sheriff’s Lompoc substation.
A K-9 unit responded, checked the vehicle for narcotics and allegedly located a hidden compartment within the vehicle that contained more than 4 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated wholesale street value of about $14,350.
Sheriff’s narcotics detectives served a subsequent warrant at the hotel where Villareal and his girlfriend, Lopez, were staying.
Detectives allegedly located additional methamphetamine packaged for sales, narcotic trafficking indicia, a loaded firearm and more than $7,000 in cash.
This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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