SANTA BARBARA — Symptomatic of the area’s methamphetamine problem, sheriff’s officials this week conducted raids on two individual drug rings operating in close proximity to one another.
The first investigation led narcotics officers into the upscale residential foothill area high above the famed Santa Barbara Mission on Las Canoas Road. An ongoing series of neighborhood complaints from local community members initially alerted sheriff’s detectives to a specific house, upon which search warrants were served on May 25.
According to sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars, deputies seized “operable scales, approximately two ounces of methamphetamine, packaging materials, more than $1000 in cash and various paraphernalia associated with the sales and use of narcotics.”
The targeted residence was occupied by six individuals, all of whom were arrested on various charges: William Paxson, 64, was booked for being under the influence, possession of narcotics paraphernalia, and maintaining his dwelling for the use or sales of drugs; Jerry Boeff, 44, Francine Gabel, William Kondrad, Blue Herrick Major, and Paul Woellert were all charged similarly, with Woellert and Konrad being held without bail on additional parole and felony warrants.
Just four days later, on May 28, sheriff’s and Santa Barbara city police narcotics detectives conducted another raid two miles away just a stone’s throw from the tourist center at West Beach, and apprehended another six individuals engaged in illegal narcotics activities.
Conducting a search warrant inspection of a West Beach residence, deputies found Robert Bergere, 43, his wife Luana Bergere, 37, his brother Kelly Bergere, Raelene Chavez, Joe Hurtado, and Brooke Pohring all in violation of various drug offenses. According to Sugars, “the search turned up eight ounces of methamphetamine, five grams of black tar heroin and other evidence indicating active illegal drug activity.”
All of those arrested face multiple drug possession, use, and sales violations. Robert Bergere and his wife also face charges of child endangerment, as three children between 6 and 10 years of age were in the home at the time. All three children were taken to Child Welfare Services, and the family dog was transported to county Animal Control.