Two Porterville Suspects Arrested for Chop Shop Operation, Possession of Marijuana
PORTERVILLE – The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department arrested a man and a woman after learning that they were running a chop shop in Porterville.
The incident happened on June 15 around 11:30 a.m. when deputies from the Porterville division of the sheriff’s department decided to look into a suspicious vehicle in the area of Avenue 144 and Road 208. The vehicle was parked in front of a vacant residence.
The deputies found a female sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, the deputies found 29 live immature marijuana plants. The female initially gave the deputies a false name, but she was later identified as 28-year-old Vanessa Debrah Salais, of Porterville. Salais had two warrants out for her arrest, one of which was for a stolen vehicle, according to the sheriff’s department.
Deputies then saw a male walking from the back of the property and detained him. Like Salais, the male initially provided a false name. However, he was later identified as 30-year-old Luke Hulstine, of Porterville. He also had several warrants out for his arrest, including for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, possession of concealed weapons, and burglary.
Not surprisingly, the deputies discovered that the vehicle the two suspects were in had been stolen. When deputies began investigating the vacant property, they located a clandestine chop shop in the back that contained another stolen vehicle that was in the process of being stripped, authorities said.
The sheriff’s department handed over the investigation into the stolen vehicle and the chop shop to detectives with the California Highway Patrol.
Salais and Hulstine were booked into the Tulare County Jail on charges of cultivation of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, providing false information to a peace officer, vehicle theft, operation of a chop shop, and possession of a concealed weapon.
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