HIGHLAND – San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies, tipped off to an armed robbery in progress earlier this week, arrived in time to arrest eight men, including one that tried to flee.
The call came to an illegal marijuana dispensary on the 25900 block of 9th St. at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Deputies were alerted that numerous suspects had arrived at that location with assault weapons, handguns and accosted victims at gunpoint.
Within seconds, deputies arrived at the scene. One man, Vincente Tapia, 28, of San Bernardino, tried to flee on foot but was quickly captured, according to reports.
Also arrested were Alfredo Villa, 20, of Los Angeles; Samuel Aguirre, 29, San Bernardino; Israel Paredez, 33, San Bernardino; Scott Rathjen, 33, San Bernardino; Raymond Ortiz, 32; Edgar Hernandez, 24, Highland; and Daniel Rodriguez, 26, Highland.
Investigators quickly determined that all eight suspects are believed to be affiliated with a criminal street gang. According to authorities, they arrived at the dispensary to extort money from the shop owner.
All eight face charge of possession of assault weapons, armed robbery, kidnapping for extortion and conspiracy. Investigators presented a search warrant for the premises, including Tapia’s vehicle where they discovered a large amount of money believed to be cash taken during other robberies or extortions.
Detectives confiscated five handguns and one illegal assault rifle, which were used by the suspects during the armed robbery.
Most of the gang members, who were booked into Central Detention Center on $1 million bail, appeared in court later in the week. Sheriff’s Narcotics detectives are continuing an investigation into the activities of the marijuana dispensary, though no arrests have been announced.
Highland Police Detectives are continuing the suspected extortion, attempting to locate additional victims that may have been robbed or are being extorted by the eight suspects. Highland is a neighboring city of San Bernardino.
Highland Community News: Kidnapping for extortion/conspiracy/robbery