Panga boat washes ashore
GOLETA — An abandoned panga boat was discovered Friday morning on Tajiguas Beach near Goleta, authorities said.
The boat was found around 8:55 a.m. Personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and California State Parks responded to the area and found the 35-foot drug smuggling boat equipped with two motors, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Authorities located several fuel canisters that had been discarded in the kelp nearby. Investigators searched the area and did not locate any suspects or drugs, Ms. Zick said.
The boat was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, which will conduct a further investigation.
— Mitchell White
Lane closures scheduled for 101 project
CARPINTERIA – Several lane closures are planned this week as work continues on the Linden and Casitas Pass Highway 101 widening project in Carpinteria.
From 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, one northbound lane will be closed from Bailard Avenue to Santa Claus Lane. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the offramp at Casitas Pass Road and onramp at Linden Avenue will be closed. Also, during overnight hours Monday through Friday, one northbound lane will be closed between Casitas Pass Road to Santa Claus Lane, according to Caltrans officials.
From 10 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday, one southbound lane will be closed from Santa Claus Lane to Bailard Avenue. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, the onramps and offramps at Casitas Pass Road and the offramp at Linden Avenue will be closed. Also, during overnight hours Monday to Friday, one southbound lane will be closed between Santa Claus Lane to Bailard Avenue, as well as the onramp and offramps at Casitas Pass Road will be closed, officials said.
In addition, the 101 onramp at Casitas Pass Road will be closed for up to five weeks starting at 9 p.m. Sunday. The closure will allow crews to shift northbound freeway lanes and install pavement on the north side of the 101. A detour route is available on Via Real through the new roundabout to the northbound 101 onramp at Linden Avenue.
The majority of the new highway improvements are open. Motorists are advised to expect traffic signals to switch from red flashing to running signals this week. Via Real from the northbound 101 offramp at Casitas Pass Road over Carpinteria Creek will open within a month, officials said.
Crews are continuing work on vegetation control, electronic connections, sign installation and final construction items on the Linden Avenue, Via Real, Casitas Pass Road and Ogan Road roundabout.
–– Mitchell White
Vegetation fire burns two acres
LOMPOC – A small vegetation fire broke out Friday afternoon in the 4100 block of Jalama Road and burned an estimated two acres, authorities said.
The Jalama Fire was reported at approximately 2:15 p.m. near the Cargasachi Ranch, at 4115 Jalama Road. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department launched a full vegetation response and arriving units reported the fire was burning in light grass at a slow rate of spread, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, fire spokesman.
County fire crews were joined on scene by personnel from the Lompoc City Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service. The blaze jumped the roadway and became involved in heavier vegetation, though crews were able to halt the fire’s forward progress by 3:30 p.m., Capt. Bertucelli said.
There were reports of power lines down in the area and power in the area was shut off as crews worked to contain the fire.
Crews on scene evacuated at least one residence, though no structure damage or injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
— Mitchell White
Suspect arrested in soldier’s murder
SANTA MARIA — A man was arrested following an hours-long standoff Friday night in Santa Maria, police said.
On Friday afternoon, the Santa Maria Police Department’s SWAT team was involved in a search for a man wanted in connection to the death of a Lompoc soldier. Several dozen officers responded to a residence in the 1500 block of South Thornburg Street around 12:30 p.m. Friday after a patrol officer reportedly spotted Walter Morales, a suspect in the death of 22-year-old Marlon Brumfield, a U.S. Army soldier who was killed in a gang-related shooting Sept. 8, 2019, according to authorities.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Air Support unit also responded to assist in the search.
Mr. Morales was also reportedly spotted following a pair of shootings last week in Lompoc.
Another suspect in the shooting, Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega, was arrested Sept. 19, 2019, after turning himself in to police. He has since been charged with murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang and has pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Morales was taken into custody around 8:30 p.m. Friday, police said.
–– Mitchell White