Neighborly Burglary Call Ends with Arrest for Drugs & Guns
Joseph Zuniga and Janessa Morales
Santa Barbara County – When your neighbors begin making calls to 911 Emergency because they think they’re witnessing a burglary in progress on your property, you might be appreciative of the fact that they’re looking out for you and your possessions.
But when you happen to be on felony probation, when the cops arrive, they’ve got license to ask a lot of questions and poke their nose into your business, your premises, and your personal property. And when some of your property is secured in a a locked safe, you can be sure that law enforcement becomes curious as to exactly what it is you have that needs protecting to that degree.
That’s exactly what happened in the early evening hours of November 10th in a Santa Maria neighborhood when Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to what SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover reported as “a burglary in progress call” at a local area home and they found 24-year-old Santa Maria resident Joseph Zuniga, 29-year-old Janessa Morales, and a third unnamed individual “in the backyard.”
When deputies learned that Zuniga “was found to be on active felony probation,” a probation search of the home quickly ensued and they discovered assorted drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine, and “a locked safe” in the home.
Their suspicions reasonably aroused, the deputies called in help from Santa Barbara County Fire Department personnel and “the safe was forcibly opened” revealing a 9mm pistol and “various calibers of ammunition” inside—all items Zuniga’s probation terms prohibit.
Zuniga was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail and booked on a probation detainer and a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, earning him a stay without bail. On her part, Morales was arrested and booked on a charge of possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking