Photo: Gilbert Montoya
December 10, 2020 – Santa Barbara County, Ca.
With the new economic base of agriculture throughout Santa Barbara County rapidly shifting in the past three years from avocados and lemons to the cultivation, processing, and sales of cannabis products, a proliferation of criminal activity surrounding the sales and distribution of marijuana seems fairly predictable.
One of those criminal activities is an increase in unlicensed sales and delivery of retail cannabis products. One such purveyor is 42-year-old Santa Maria resident Gilbert Montoya, who was arrested on December 3rd.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, Montoya had been the subject of an ongoing investigation “into illegal cannabis sales and delivery service” operating throughout the communities of Lompoc and Santa Maria. The services under investigation were reported as “not having any state or county licenses and were selling untested and unverified products.”
When SBSD detectives contacted Montoya, he was determined to be a convicted felon and was found to be in possession of “a stolen firearm and ammunition,” as well as a variety of contraband cannabis products. When Montoya was contacted, the cops also found “an unlicensed commercial cannabis grow in a room protected by false walls used to conceal its location.”
All the cannabis found at the site was seized, along with an undisclosed amount of cash and firearms. Montoya was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was booked on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property, and possession of marijuana for sale, with his bail set at $35,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking