SANTA CRUZ—Members of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team (SCCACT) wanted to pay a visit to Juan Manuel Chavez-Orlandes, 35, at his place of business and see what he was up to. Upon the agents’ arrival at his business, the Santa Cruz Family Market at 2-1400 East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, agents found evidence of drugs, but no Orlandes.
However, agents did encounter his brother Ernesto Chavez, as well as Jose Ponce, Inocencio Cavero-Maldonado, and Jose Sanchez in different parts of the store. Because the compliance check was for Orlandes and not his business, the agents suspended their search until they were able to get a search warrant.
A Santa Cruz County Judge granted a new search warrant for the business and the subjects inside, and for Orlandes’ residence. Agents had noticed that where the subjects were working in the business, there appeared to be heroin present.
At the conclusion of the warrant search, agents seized 215 grams of heroin, which is equivalent to about a half a pound. The estimated street value of the heroin was about $17,000.00. They also located $14,000.00 in cash in the business.
While they were serving the search warrants and finishing up their investigation Chavez-Orlandes returned and he was immediately detained by the agents.
Arrested were 35-year-old Juan Manuel Chavez-Orlandes of Santa Cruz. (His name was spelled “Olandes” on the official booking report.) Also 35-year-old Jose Luis Ponce of Santa Cruz, 31-year-old transient Inocencio Cavero-Maldonado, 30-year-old Jose Guadalupe Sanchez of Santa Cruz and 30-year-old Ernesto Chavez of Santa Cruz.
All were charged with possession of heroin for sale and conspiracy to distribute heroin, and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.