Ventura County – Nestled in the foothills just east of the City of Ventura, the Ojai Valley is widely known as a tranquil retreat from the usual hurly-burly of contemporary life, and enjoys a long-standing reputation as a center for spiritual connection and meditation.
Ironically, however, the Ojai Valley has recently been the scene of multiple incidents involving mysterious pyrotechnic and explosive events which have become the focus of intense law enforcement interest since the summer months of 2014. With that background, it was with all due alacrity in the early evening hours of January 27th that Ventura County Fire Department units and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Ojai station deputies were dispatched to a quiet residential Meiner’s Oaks neighborhood pursuant to “numerous calls of loud explosions in the area,” according to VCSD spokesman Sergeant Rick Harwood.
When fire and law enforcement units arrived at the reported scene in the vicinity of North LaLuna Avenue, deputies were informed by reporting parties that a specific street address seemed to be the location from which the sounds of explosions had emanated. “Unable to locate the person who was responsible for the explosions,” Harwood reported, detectives conducting follow-up investigation determined that Travis Ross, a 24-year old resident at the location, “had been building and detonating small bombs” with various chemical compounds which he packaged and then ignited to considerable concussive effect.
Detectives subsequently made contact with Ross, whom they suspect may have been involved in the several prior incidents over the preceding six months. Those events remain under investigation, while Ross was arrested at the scene of the current incident and was summarily transported to Ventura County Jail where he was booked on charges of making and detonating an explosive device, charges that merited his bail being set at $100,000.
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