February 8, 2021 – Santa Barbara, Ca.
When 19-year-old local college students Marino Rastelli and Jasper Pieter van der Meulen, apparently looking for bargain-priced marijuana for their personal recreational use, rather than patronizing one of the local legal pot shops, they sought unlicensed pot purveyors on the city streets. As things turned out on January 7, 2020, that was a fatal mistake.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, the two young men fell victim to “a robbery rip-off” perpetrated by Santa Barbara residents 21- year-old Bryan Munoz and 24-year-old Joshua Isaac Vega.
Immediately following the shootings, multiple agencies—including the Santa Barbara Police Department, Santa Barbara City Fire Department, the SBSD Criminal Investigation Division, Special Enforcement Team, multiple K-9 units, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Fire Air Support Unit, and even officers attached to Santa Barbara City Animal Control—became involved in the month-long investigation and were ultimately involved in the hunt for and arrests of the suspects.
Evidenced gathered indicated that the killings were “a tragic example of the sinister and dangerous crimes that are associated with illegal drug sales” as described by SBSD Sheriff Bill Brown as he announced the identification and arrests of Munoz and Vega on February 4th . Both suspects were contacted by detectives on the morning of the 4th during the execution of a search warrant at the residence of 32-year-old Jorge Luis Silva Guevara.
Guevara was himself found to be in possession of narcotics for sales and was taken into custody at the scene along with a male juvenile wanted on a no-bail warrant for probation violation.
Munoz and Vega were transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where Munoz was booked for one count of murder, one count of special circumstance murder during the commission of a robbery, and conspiracy. He remains in custody on a no-bail hold. Vega was booked for robbery and conspiracy and remains in custody with his bail set at $50,000.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking