Ventura County – The ubiquity and speed of today’s social media often assists law enforcement in the apprehension of criminal perpetrators, but mistaking a massive drug investigation for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort because of the number of suspects involved can create public mistaken perceptions that require correction.
That was the case on January 19th, when, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Guy Moody, “a two-month-long narcotic investigation” ended with the service of a search warrant upon the residence of 60-year-old Oxnard resident Juan Nava. When detectives executed the search warrant upon Nava’s home, they found 15 people staying there as well as and various sheds and outbuildings on the property.
As detectives attached to the West County Street Team and officers from the Oxnard Police Department Neighborhood Policing Team and the California National Guard’s Counter Drug Force personnel ushered the 15 residents to the front yard of the home, “narcotics paraphernalia indicative of narcotics sales” was found inside the house. As noted by Moody, “high safety concerns associated with a narcotics search warrant” caused the residents to be reasonably detained outside the house during the search.
The appearance of so many people in front of Nava’s house prompted neighborhood witnesses to post incorrect reports of “an immigration raid” on social media, a perspective soon refuted by Moody who indicated “this was solely a narcotic sales investigation in an effort to make the community a safer place.”
The primary object of the search warrant—Juan Nava—was not located, but three other males were arrested on various narcotic violations, including 24-year-old Daniel Nava, 37-year-old Rigoberto Ramirez, 49-year-old Jose Morales, and 37-year-old Freddy Servin, all hailing from Oxnard.