Left: Wanted felon Mark Flores of Santa Paula is being held at Ventura County Main Jail on a no bail hold after he emerged from a crawl space and was arrested Tuesday. Right:Manual Vega of Santa Paula was arrested for obstructing an officer after he and Flores hit in a homemade crawl space before being ferreted out by K-9 Django.

SPPD: Determined K-9 finds gang members in homemade crawl space

January 06, 2017
Santa Paula News

A determined K-9 with a nose for those wanted ferreted out two gang members hiding in a space under the floor of an East Harvard Boulevard home Tuesday.

According to Santa Paula Police Sgt. Cody Madison, the January 3 incident occurred at approximately 6:50 p.m. when SPPD Officers attempted to locate a wanted parolee at large in a resident in the 500 block of East Harvard Boulevard.

“Upon arrival a search was conducted and four people were contacted,” and Madison said, “All four stated there were no other people inside the residence.” 

Rather than take them at their word a search of the residence was conducted by police with the assistance of SPPD K-9 Django and his handler Officer Daniel Gosselin.

While searching a bedroom Madison said K-9 Django “alerted and barked at a corner of the room,” and started scratching at the carpeting of the floor. 

Officers believed there could be subjects hiding underneath the floor so Madison said, “Commands were given to them to exit from under the floor or the K-9 would be deployed.”

After telling officers they would come out and to restrain the dog, what emerged were two men identified as Mark Flores, 35, of Santa Paula and 37-year-old Manuel Vega, also of Santa Paula. 

Both, who Madison noted are “Well known to police,” were taken into custody without incident. 

Madison said upon further investigation officers’ determined that a false space had been constructed under the house. 

“The floor had been cut, with the foundation to the house dug out, and re-covered with flooring/carpet to conceal the area,” where the men were discovered. 

Both subjects were transported to Santa Paula Police Department for processing and later booked at Ventura County Main Jail. 

Madison said Building & Safety was called to the single-family home to inspect the residence: “It was not red-tagged, however they are being required to fix it.”

Flores was arrested for his felony no bail warrant and Vega was arrested for obstructing a police officer with a bail of $20,000

K-9 Officer Daniel Gosselin checks out the illegal crawl space where two men were discovered hiding Tuesday.

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