Photo: Kelly Copus
Ventura – Among the many tourist attractions along the Southern California coastline, Ventura Harbor and its surrounding beach environs attract thousands of visitors on any given day.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Det. Sgt. Eduardo Malagon, the coastal area is also quite a magnet for a variety of folks engaged in criminal activity. It was in a public parking lot adjacent to Ventura Harbor’s recreational offerings just after noon on October 6th when deputies “contacted and arrested four subjects” who were apparently up to no good.
Working on assignment with funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security, VCSD Narcotics Detectives were cruising along Harbor Boulevard “conducting directed enforcement” when they spotted Ventura residents Kelly Copus, 48, Sara Hudgins, 23, and Los Angeles residents Brandon Bartek, 35, and Danyelle Bartek, 33 as they were all gathered “in a dirt lot a short distance from the Ventura Harbor boat launch ramps.
The fact that Mr. Copus was reportedly “holding a black bag” apparently drew the attention of the detectives and prompted them to identify themselves as members of law enforcement. That initial contact helped the deputies to “develop probable cause” to conduct a search of Mr. Copus’ little black bag. Inside, the cops found “two loaded revolvers, methamphetamine, digital scales, and two black face masks.
One can only image how the tenor of things changed at that point, as the cops then searched Copus’ vehicle and discovered “a ballistic vest” inside.
All four suspects were taken into custody and transported to Ventura County Jail, where Brandon Bartek and Hudgins were booked on a charge of misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine, Danyelle Bartek was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia, and Copus was booked as a felon in prohibited possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of controlled substances for sale.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Unit, Ventura County Jail Booking