Feature: Methamphetamine Bust, Massage Bust, Polluted Ocean Water
Here is a summary of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:
Meth arrest in Fillmore
Authorities seized an estimated $1.2 million in methamphetamine in Fillmore last week as part of an investigation into what they describe as a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico.
The Ventura County sheriff’s office said in a news release Wednesday that the statue occurred Friday night in a McDonald’s parking lot after investigators became aware of a large shipment headed for the city.
A county task force was investigating the organization, which allegedly imported large quantities of methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine from Mexico into the United States. The group smuggled methamphetamine across the border as a liquid and converted it into a solid “crystal” form once it reached the United States. Sheriff officials said. Crystallized methamphetamine was transported in large quantities by drug couriers to wholesale customers in the greater Los Angeles area, including Ventura County.
On Friday, detectives noticed a 32-year-old Downey man suspected of transporting methamphetamines in the Fillmore McDonald’s parking lot at 908 Ventura Street, also known as Highway 126, in a blue Honda four-wheel drive. The man was arrested at the scene and a drug-sniffing K-9 dog from the Fillmore station alerted authorities that there might be drugs inside the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s account.
A search of the four-wheel-drive vehicle found about 56 pounds of methamphetamine in a cardboard box in the back of the vehicle. Several thousand dollars in cash were also seized as well as several cell phones and several grams of cocaine. The market value of methamphetamine was estimated at more than $1.2 million. The suspect was arrested and sent to the county jail.
Bacteria levels prompt warnings about water quality along the coast
Beaches along the Ventura County coast failed weekly ocean water quality tests after recent storms, prompting county health authorities to post warning signs.
The Ventura County Department of Environmental Health said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that sites from Rincon Beach, on the western county line, to Ormond Beach in Oxnard, failed to meet state standards for bacteria.
Additionally, an interactive map on the department’s website shows beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway, from Point Mugu to the Los Angeles County line, which are marked for exceeding bacterial standards or for a precipitation warning.
People are advised to avoid contact with ocean water for a minimum of 50 yards on either side of this hanging sign. If you come into contact with water or objects in the water, agency officials said, wash yourself thoroughly with soap and water.
In addition, shellfish should not be eaten off Ventura County beaches due to potential contamination.
Signs will remain in place until tests show that the water meets state standards.
You can find the interactive map to Ocean sampling results at vcrma.org.
Arrests related to human trafficking in Oxnard massage parlors
Sheriff officials announced Wednesday that suspected commercial sexual activity at two massage companies in Oxnard culminated in a raid involving the Ventura County sheriff and FBI agents earlier this month.
Three women, two from Los Angeles County and one from Oxnard, were arrested on suspicion of various crimes including human trafficking, pimping and money laundering. The authorities referred to the massage companies as “commercial sex brothels”.
In March, sheriff’s investigators launched an investigation into a VIP massage therapy at the 100 West Fourth Street building, a suspected illicit massage act. Investigators reportedly found commercial sex going on “all day” at the site, according to the sheriff’s account. A 51-year-old woman from Valencia who owned the company and a 41-year-old woman from Los Angeles who ran it allegedly used coercion on at least two victims who worked there.
Detectives also investigated the Blue Moon Spa at 700 South A Street and similarly found that commercial sex took place throughout the day, authorities claim. The company is owned by a 58-year-old Oxnard woman.
On August 4, sheriff’s investigators, with the assistance of the FBI, executed multiple search and arrest warrants at both businesses and business owners’ homes in Oxnard and Valencia.
Authorities seized more than $60,000 and a Corvette during the searches, which they claimed were proceeds from illegal activity. Victim advocates spoke at the scene with other potential victims.
The three women were arrested and the prosecution subsequently charged them with various crimes. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Jail records showed they were being held at Todd Road Prison on Wednesday on $900,000 bail each.
This article originally appeared on the Ventura County Star: Feature: Methamphetamine Bust, Massage Bust, Polluted Ocean Water