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SB Sheriff: Goleta double homicide was drug deal gone wrong

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After law enforcement were seen in two Santa Barbara neighborhoods Thursday morning, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced that arrests have finally been made in the Jan. 7 double homicide near Goleta, now deemed a drug deal gone wrong.

During a press conference, Sheriff Bill Brown said that four people were arrested as a result of their investigation.

Two of those arrests were made in connection to the murders and two were made as a result of search warrants.

Sheriff Brown said that bystanders initially reported the shooting near the 600 block of Burtis Street. There, deputies found two men each suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. One man was pronounced dead at the scene while the other was taken to the hospital and sadly died weeks later on Jan. 28.

Aerial image shows the crime scene where two 19-year-old men were shot and killed in a drug deal gone wrong

The sheriff's office said deputies put over 2,000 hours into this investigation since the crime, and as a result, obtained information and identities regarding the suspects in this case.

Search warrants were obtained for four residents within the City of Santa Barbara including for the 1900 block of Robbins Street, the 600 block of W Cota Street, 600 block of N Voluntario Street and 800 block of San Pascual Street.

During the service of these warrants Thursday morning, three men and one minor were arrested, all four were determined to be members of a criminal street gang.

Bryan Munoz, 21, of Santa Barbara

Bryan Munoz, 21, of Santa Barbara was arrested on two counts of murder with special circumstances involving more than one offence of murder, murder during a robbery, robbery, criminal conspiracy and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang. He is being held without bail.

Joshua Vega, 24, Santa Barbara

Joshua Vega, 24, of Santa Barbara was arrested for robbery and criminal conspiracy. His bail was set at $60,000.

Jorge Silva Gueverra, 32, was arrested for the possession of narcotics for sales--unrelated to the murder. Deputies said, when they contacted him at a residence, he resisted arrest. Gueverra was then tazed and treated by medical staff before being booked in the County Main Jail.

The minor, a 15-year-old boy, was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for violating probation. He is being held without bail.

Deputies believe these homicides were the result of a drug deal gone bad. The suspects are believed to have committed a "robbery ripoff".

They urge anyone else who was potentially involved in an instance of robbery ripoff during a potential drug sale to report it immediately to the Sheriff's Office. The sheriff said they are not interested in the drug deal, but instead in the violent robbery.

"The arrests made today send a clear message to criminal street gangs and any other criminal that would come into Santa Barbara County and commit these kinds of heinous and evil crimes," said Sheriff Brown. "And I can assure you that if you do commit crimes like this in our county, we will hunt you down after you've been identified, we will arrest you, we will put you in jail and we will bring you to justice."

The victims have since been identified as 19-year-old Enzo Marino Rastelli and 19-year-old Jasper Pieter van der Meulen. Rastelli was reportedly a student at Santa Barbara City College while van der Meulen, who died weeks later, had been studying at UC Santa Barbara.

"The victims of this terrible crime were two college students who made some bad choices and fell victim to what is often thought to be a victimless crime--the elicit sale of drugs, in this case marijuana," explained Brown.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies were seen earlier Thursday morning outside a home near Del Monte Avenue and San Pascual Street.

A NewsChannel crew at the scene said several patrol cars were in the area, as well as the sheriff's K9 unit. Deputies were seen gathering outside the home.

Deputies were also seen at a second area near Voluntario and Alphonse Streets.

SB search scene 2
Deputies were seen near Voluntario and Alphonse Streets Thursday. (Scott Sheahen/KEYT)

A sheriff's deputy at one of the scenes confirmed an investigation was taking place at multiple locations in the city beginning around 9 a.m. Thursday.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli is the Executive Producer at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lindsay, click here.

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