25 Arrested in Santa Barbara Drug Bust
All but two are undocumented immigrants

By: Matt Cota
Thursday, November 9, 2006

A year-long investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department ends with more than two dozen arrests.

Crack, meth, cocaine, heroin and more than $150,000 in cash is confiscated as Santa Barbara cops break up a large-scale drug ring.

"This was a very far-reaching investigation," says Paul McCaffrey with the Santa Barbara Police Department. "Our goal was to move beyond the lower and mid-level dealers and try to target higher-level dealers -- some of who have been operating for years in the Santa Barbara area."

For the past year, narcotics detectives have staked out homes and businesses. This week, 25 people were arrested. More are expected in the days ahead. Those in custody are considered upper level dealers, whose product often ends up in the hands of Santa Barbara's criminal street gangs -- gang members who have been involved in violent turf battles over the past several months.

"We believe that drugs distributed by this ring were going to dealers who were selling to gang members," says McCaffrey. "So there is a connection."

With these arrests, two and a half pounds of crystal meth and three and a half pounds of cocaine are off the streets -- drugs with a street value in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Of the 25 arrested, all but two are undocumented immigrants. They will be held without bail until trial.

The San Luis Obispo Narcotics Task Force assisted the Santa Barbara Police Department in the year-long investigation.