Fire at Santa Barbara Cemetery
SANTA BARBARA — A fire broke out at the Santa Barbara Cemetery Thursday morning.
Emergency radio traffic first reported the fire just after 7 a.m. According to the Montecito Fire Protection District, trees along the bluffs of the cemetery caught fire. Fire crews contained the blaze by 8 a.m. with little threat to the community.
Santa Barbara City Fire Department firefighters assisted in the response.
— Paul Gonzalez
Cannabis seized in warrant service
SANTA MARIA — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s Cannabis Compliance Team seized approximately 4,000 cannabis plants and 200 pounds of dried product during the service of a search warrant Wednesday in the Tepusquet area near Santa Maria.
The warrant was served in the area of Pine Canyon and State Route 166, and authorities were assisted by wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and agents with the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
The warrant was related to an unlicensed outdoor cannabis operation, which was discovered while reviewing past reports and current active cannabis licenses in the county. Detectives located and seized the untagged cannabis plants and dried product, Ms. Zick said.
“Without licensing and Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (METRC) tags, the cannabis derived from this operation would have likely entered the illicit market, undercutting the licensed operators in our county and state, and would circumvent the safeguards in place to ensure consumer safety,” she said.
No arrests were made and an investigation is ongoing.
— Mitchell White
Felony charges filed against retired probation officer
A felony complaint has been filed against retired Santa Barbara County Deputy Probation Officer Manuel Edward Torres.
The complaint, filed today, charges Mr. Torres with 15 counts, including misappropriation of public funds, grand theft of monies from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association, forgery and false personation. The alleged crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 2009 and June 30, 2019, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said in a statement.
Mr. Torres will also be charged with three counts of failure to file an income tax return for the tax years 2009-2011, and eight counts of filing a false income tax return from 2012 to 2019. In addition, an aggravated white collar crime enhancement has been alleged, stating that the alleged felony conduct in the cast amounted to a taking of more than $500,000.
Mr. Torres was arrested Wednesday in Santa Maria on a $500,000 arrest warrant. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Santa Barbara Superior Court.
— Mitchell White
Four arrested in fatal shooting
LOMPOC — Four people were arrested Wednesday night in connection with the shooting death of 30-year-old Francisco Garcia Monday night in Lompoc, police said.
Arrested were 32-year-old Emanuel Cruz, two 16-year-old male juveniles and a 15-year-old male juvenile, according to a department news release.
The shooting was reported around 8:06 p.m. Monday in the 700 block of West Chestnut Avenue. Officers located Mr. Garcia and rendered aid before he was transported to the Lompoc emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police by calling 805-736-2341 or through the department’s mobile app.
— Mitchell White