Photo: Stock Image
Ventura County, Ca. – March 30, 2023 –The ongoing efforts in what Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sergeant Will Hollowell describes as his agency’s commitment “to maintaining the safety of all residents” by working closely with the public and with other law enforcement enterprises are constantly up against a tide of illegal activity that takes place right under the noses of an unsuspecting community.
Evidence of that came on the afternoon of March 29th with the arrests of Fillmore residents 43-year-old Albert Morales and 23-year-old Diana Raya and Santa Paula residents 25-year-old Jayden Mercado, 26-year-old Jessica Quezada, and 26-year-old Rafael Prado, all five of whom became the subject of VCSD Special Enforcement Unit and Fillmore Detective Bureau surveillance pursuant to “information related to probationers and drug users” at a Fillmore Street private residence.
That surveillance effort proved fruitful as detectives observed what appeared to be evidence of narcotics trafficking. When they spotted Mercado enter the residence and then depart just minutes later, detectives and an unmarked K9 patrol unit conducted a traffic stop on Mercado’s vehicle. He was quickly determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance, which led to a probable cause search of his car and the discovery of a “loaded short-barreled .22 caliber rifle, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, fentanyl, and methamphetamine,” all proscribed under the terms of his probationary status.
With Mercado on his way to jail, detectives then showed up at the aforementioned Fillmore Street residence and summarily conducted a probation search of the home and of everyone inside. Morales, Prado, Quezada, and Raya were all taken into custody and transported to Ventura County Jail where they were booked on violation of probation and multiple narcotics charges.