Vehicle Pursuit Ends In Arrest, Suspect Found Hiding in Bathroom
WATSONVILLE—Members of the Santa Cruz County Gang Task Force (SCGTF) arrested a woman and man after an armed robbery in Watsonville turned into a pursuit, and ended in a home invasion.
On Saturday at 8:40 p.m. Watsonville Police were called to take of report of armed robbery on Arista Lane. The suspect was described as an Hispanic male, approximately 30-years-old, six-feet tall, heavy set with a shaved head and tattoos on his arm. The suspect was also wearing a black baseball cap with a big “blingy” necklace and a white t-shirt.
The suspect was last seen leaving the area with a woman in a white vehicle towards Atkinson Lane. The victim was able to provide the Watsonville Police with a partial license plate number of the vehicle.
Thanks to the information provided by the victim, members of the SCGTF were able to find the car traveling on Atkinson Lane with the suspects inside. Upon feeling the presence of police, the suspect Benjamin James Chavez led authorities in a pursuit through the city of Watsonville that ended at the dead-end on Holly Drive.
Chavez was seen by officers discarding the weapon out the window on Holly Drive just prior to abandoning the vehicle. He left the vehicle and his female companion, Rocio Castillo, as she was arrested at the scene. He continued on, and attempted to evade police by jumping over fences towards Anna Street.
A few minutes later, police received a call from a frantic resident stated that an unknown male had entered their home. Police arrived at the home and quickly deployed “Ellex”, Watsonville Police Department’s K-9. Ellex was able to track Chavez to an upstairs bathroom.
Still, Chavez refused to exit the bathroom and surrender to police. Police forcefully gained access to the bathroom and deployed Ellex once again. The police dog bit Chavez, and officers used that opportunity to place him under arrest. He was taken to Watsonville Community Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
“We would like to thank the Officers and Deputies from our neighboring agencies that assisted in this investigation.” Watsonville Police Sergeant Henry Robles wrote, “Because of their great work, cooperation and commitment this case was resolved quickly and safely.”
Benjamin Castillo, a 28-year-old Watsonville resident, was charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine. Rocio Chavez, a 34-year-old Watsonville resident, was charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy, being a felon in possession of a firearm, a criminal street gang member in possession of a firearm, resisting/delaying a police officer, possession of methamphetamine, parole violation and evading police with reckless driving.
They both were transported and booked at the Santa Cruz County Jail and both had their bails set at $50,000.00 each.