Santa Barbara – Montecito’s Coast Village Road, the county’s answer to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, is lined with exclusive boutiques, “members only” banks, and tony dining spots…all of which makes it an unlikely spot for the final act of a long and protracted game of “catch me if you can” involving multiple law enforcement agencies, a gaggle of cop cars, and an elusive heroin addict.
According to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, it was just after 7:00 p.m. on January 14th when SBPD patrol officers noticed Leo Gomez, a 37-year old Santa Barbara resident known to have multiple arrest warrants clouding his future, cruising down the avenue. At that moment of recognition, officers initiated a traffic stop which was apparently not in Gomez’s evening plans, for he summarily hit the gas and sped down U.S. 101 in excess of the posted speed limit.
Just a few miles south, he exited the freeway, whipped his car around and re-entered the freeway, now heading north toward Montecito and Santa Barbara. With the California Highway Patrol now interested in Mr. Gomez’s travel plans, they were soon on his tail; as he exited the area’s shortest off-ramp, back again on Coast Village Road, CHP units prevented any further progress on the part of Gomez and promptly took him into custody.
Investigation of Gomez and his passenger, Angela Marie Beltran, 40, revealed a plethora of issues for the pair, as he was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with false registration tags, felony evading, and—pursuant to his admission that he is an active heroin addict—driving as an addict. “He had abscesses and evidence of use, so he falls within this section,” Harwood reported. In addition to the aforementioned charges, Gomez was also arrested and charged under the three outstanding warrants which initiated the entire episode.
For her part, Beltran was charged with possession of concentrated cannabis and cited for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
Photos: courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
Noozhawk: Man arrested for felony warrant