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Lompoc meth bust nets four arrests

Lompoc meth bust nets four arrests

  • Updated

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 wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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