Documented SP gang member
uses boy as shield before arrest

March 21, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times A documented Santa Paula gang member used a 9-year-old boy as a shield when confronted by Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies on Friday, but was taken into custody with no one being harmed.

The local man and a second suspect are being held at Ventura County Jail with bail set at $500,000 each.

According to a VCSD spokesman, the incident occurred March 14 at the conclusion of a month-long investigation into drug dealing in Ventura, according to Sgt. Mike Horne.

Sheriff’s narcotics detectives in February began investigating 32-year-old Leah Montijo of Ventura for allegedly dealing methamphetamine from her home. 

While conducting a surveillance of Montijo, detectives saw what appeared to be Montijo engaged in several narcotics transactions. 

Detectives identified a male subject with Montijo as Jorge Garcia, 27, a documented Santa Paula gang member.

In early March, detectives received information that Garcia was involved in an Oxnard incident that resulted in the recovery of a stolen vehicle. 

According to Horne, “Inside the vehicle, Oxnard police officers found a large quantity of heroin and a loaded handgun.”

Garcia evaded officers during this incident, but Horne said “sufficient evidence” was located to tie Garcia to the crime. 

A search warrant was obtained and on Friday Sheriff’s detectives observed Montijo and Garcia leave Montijo’s Ventura residence. 

A Sheriff’s Office patrol unit was requested to stop the vehicle to take Garcia into custody and execute the search warrant but when the deputy at the wheel of the patrol unit activated the overhead lights and siren, Garcia sped away on McFarlane Street at a high rate of speed.

“When trying to turn onto Olive Street,” Horne noted, “Garcia lost control and collided with the curb on the west side of the street,” partially disabling the vehicle so the patrol unit and a detective unit were able to block it in.  

Garcia was then seen throwing a plastic bag from the vehicle and as officers approached, they discovered that Montijo’s 9-year-old son was a passenger in the back seat.  

“When ordered to step away from the vehicle, Garcia used the boy as a shield and initially refused to comply with their directives,” but “Ultimately, officers were able to remove the combative Garcia and take him and Montijo into custody,” without harm to the boy. 

The thrown plastic bag was found to contain several ounces of methamphetamine. 

A search of the vehicle revealed approximately 5 ounces of heroin, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, a large sum of cash, and a loaded handgun. It was later discovered that the handgun was stolen during a burglary in Northern California in late February.

When Montijo’s residence was searched deputies found a small quantity of methamphetamine and an additional handgun.

Garcia was arrested for suspicion of conspiracy, felony child endangering, possession of heroin and methamphetamine for sale, transportation of heroin and methamphetamine, evading arrest, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm.

Montijo was arrested for suspicion of conspiracy, felony child endangering, possession of heroin and methamphetamine for sale, transportation of heroin and methamphetamine, and resisting arrest.

Both were booked into the Sheriff’s Main Jail in Ventura and bail set at $500,000 each.

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