Former Main Street business alleged scene of marijuana sales
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: January 31, 2014
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
East Main Street was the scene of a raid that led to the arrest of one man on suspicion of dealing marijuana and related charges and the red-tagging of his vintage building.
The incident occurred Wednesday, January 29 following an investigation by Santa Paula Police, who swarmed the long-shuttered El Paso Department Store on the 900 block of East Main Street at about 1 p.m.
Arrested was Steve Elliott, 59 of Santa Paula, the owner of the closed longtime family business and the building.
Elliott allegedly had been selling the marijuana out of the back door of the building said Police Chief Steve McLean.
“We developed information that someone there was dealing drugs,” and following an investigation that lasted several weeks, McLean said, “We were able to confirm he was dealing. We developed enough information, probable cause, to get a warrant from a judge... and we served that warrant.”
When SPPD personnel arrived on scene they found an estimated “about three pounds” of marijuana in glass canning jars as well as packaged in varied amounts for sale, measuring scales, an unknown amount of cash, drug paraphernalia, nine handguns and a shotgun.
McLean said Elliott, “was also living there... he had a refrigerator. At the same time,” Santa Paula Fire and Building and Safety found that the building had “wiring issues and he did not have a permit for sleeping quarters,” and the two-story building was red-tagged as unsafe to enter.
Elliott, who McLean noted, “Does not really have a criminal record, a past minor charge,” was arrested without incident.
Santa Paula Police also obtained a warrant for Elliott’s Ojai Road residence: “We also searched his home and found nothing... “
Where Elliott obtained the marijuana he was selling, said McLean, “Is the question of the week... at this point we don’t know where he was getting it.
“It looked like Elliott had been there for a while,” selling marijuana, and McLean said the suspect “Also had some pipes in there, including some meth pipes,” but no methamphetamine was found.
Weapons were found in a safe as well as in other building locations.
Elliott was arrested on a variety of charges including suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale and he was transported to Ventura County Jail.
McLean released a statement and photos posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon noting: “Santa Paula Police Departments newly created Narcotics Task Force conducted a search warrant today on a local business located on Main Street. (See Page 14) Pictured is just some of what was recovered from the location, large amounts of narcotics, numerous firearms and stacks of cash. Today’s arrest of a male adult sends a message to the drug dealers and criminals of Santa Paula; either stop your criminal behavior or prepare for a visit from the Santa Paula Police Department. We will no longer tolerate violent behavior of any kind or drug dealing to our kids. As far as the Santa Paula Police Department is concerned, one gang member or one drug dealer in our community is one too many. If I were a drug dealer or gang member in Santa Paula I think I would sleep with one eye open.”