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3 Arrested in Year-Long Drug Investigation

From the Santa Barbara Police Department:

A yearlong investigation by Santa Barbara Police Department Narcotics detectives resulted in the arrest of Edward Anthony Cardoza, age 51, of Lompoc, for several firearms related felonies; along with the filing of firearms related charges against Louis Edward Ramirez, age 51, of Lompoc, and Steven Frank Silva, age 42, of Santa Barbara. Cardoza and Ramirez are both felons.

For approximately one year the SBPD Narcotics Unit had been investigating the criminal activities of Cardoza. This investigation culminated with detectives obtaining a search warrant for Cardoza’s Lompoc home and associated vehicles for narcotics and paraphernalia.

On November 11, 2013 at 12:55 p.m., as detectives were conducting surveillance of Cardoza’s residence prior to service of the search warrant, Cardoza and Silva were observed loading what appeared to be duffel bags containing long guns into a van belonging to Silva. Silva and Cardoza drove away, followed by detectives, and headed toward Santa Barbara.

The detectives, assisted by officers from the SBPD Criminal Impact Team, conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on the 100 block of S. Fairview Avenue, in Goleta, when it stopped in a liquor store parking lot. Cardoza and Silva were contacted just after they exited the van.

When Cardoza saw officers approach he withdrew a loaded 9mm handgun from his waistband and attempted to discard it. Cardoza and Silva were detained and they, along with Silva’s van, were searched. Found inside the vehicle were seven rifles, two handguns, and approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

Cardoza’s residence on the 500 block of North G Street in Lompoc was also searched, which is where Ramirez was contacted. Ramirez acknowledged that he lives with Cardoza at that location.

Inside the residence three methamphetamine pipes, a scale for weighing narcotics, and an additional rifle and ammunition were found. A large gun safe that had been cut open was located in the living room. Investigation indicates that the guns are stolen; however the owner has not yet been located.

Investigation revealed that Cardoza and Silva were en route to Santa Barbara to sell the guns and ammunition in their possession on the street.

Cardoza was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on the following charges with a bail amount of $35,000.00:

Felon in possession of a firearm Violent felon in possession of a firearm Carrying a concealed firearm Felon in possession of ammunition Possession of drug paraphernalia

A medical condition precluded Ramirez from being booked into Jail; the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has filed the following felony charges against him:

Felon in possession of a firearm Felon in possession of ammunition

The District Attorney’s Office has filed a misdemeanor charge of carrying a firearm concealed within a vehicle against Silva. Once the owner of the aforementioned guns, ammunition, and safe is located additional charges against Cardoza, Ramirez, and Silva may be forthcoming.

The attached photograph of the weapons also includes pellet guns and bayonets that were also recovered.

Slideshow: One Year Drug Investigation Leads to Three Arrests

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