Arrest of Woman for Accessory to 2021 Liberty Street Murders by SBPD Detectives
On January 7, 2022, Santa Barbara Police Detectives conducted follow-up investigation in the City of Carpinteria for the Liberty Street Murders that occurred one year ago. Detectives have determined through further investigation that the girlfriend of arrestee and suspected shooter Angel Varela is alleged to have aided, assisted, and harbored Varela after the murders occurred.
A search and arrest warrant was authorized by a judge for Varela’s girlfriend, Jasmine Ochoa, a 24-year-old Carpinteria resident. Around 9:00 am on January 7, Ochoa was arrested by SBPD Detectives without incident in the 800 block of Walnut Avenue, in the City of Carpinteria.
While executing the search warrant on Ochoa’s residence, evidence related to the alleged murders was discovered and seized.
Ochoa was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail for Accessory to Murder and Criminal Street Terrorism, both felonies. She is being held on no bail.
On April 8, 2021, the Santa Barbara Police Department, assisted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, arrested three suspects for the homicides of Angel Castillo and Omar Montiel-Hernandez, as well as the attempted murder of three additional victims, age 16, 17, and 18 years old (names withheld).
On April 8, 2021 around 1315pm, Santa Barbara Police Detectives arrested 35-year old Fernando Gutierrez, a Carpinteria resident, in the 1100 block of Mark Avenue, Carpinteria. Gutierrez is believed to have a gang association with the homicide suspects. Gutierrez was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on $500,000 bail. Current charges include, Felon in Possession of a Firearm – 29800(a)(1) PC (Felony), Felon in Possession of Ammunition – 30305(a)(1) (Felony), Street Terrorism – Active Participant in Criminal Street Gang – 186.22 PC (Felony), and Possession of an Assault Weapon – 30605(a) PC (Felony).
On April 12, 2021 around 0800am, Santa Barbara Police Detectives served an additional search warrant in the City of Ventura. 30-year-old Edgardo Romero, a Ventura resident, was arrested in the 600 block of Empire Avenue. Romero was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail and is being held without bail. Current Charges include, Accessory to Murder - 32 PC (Felony), Unlawful Assault Weapon Activity - 30600(a) PC (Felony), Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon - 30605(a) PC (Felony), and Unlawful Manufacture of a Firearm - 29180(b) PC (Misdemeanor).
Following the execution of search and arrest warrants that occurred on April 8 and April 12, 2021, Law Enforcement Officers located and seized the following evidence:
- 3 non-serialized assault type rifles
- 1 revolver
- 3 semi-automatic handguns
- 16 high capacity assault rifle magazines
- 1 high capacity handgun drum magazine
- 8 bulletproof vests, most with steel plate armor
- 2400+ rounds of assorted live ammunition (high velocity rifle & handgun ammunition)
- Significant gang-related indicia
Even though additional arrests have been made in this case, the Santa Barbara Police Department is still actively investigating leads and will provide more information if it becomes available.