Hit & Run Arrest Followed by Felon in Possession of Gun & Large Quantity of Narcotics
On August 2, 2021, around 1:00pm, Santa Barbara Police Traffic Officers responded to the area of Oceano Avenue and Del Sol Avenue for a report of a hit and run collision with injuries. Several community members contacted the Combined Communications Center to report a vehicle had struck a juvenile riding a bicycle in the area, and was fleeing the scene. There were three juvenile bicyclists riding with the victim and witnessed the collision. The suspect vehicle had also left vehicle parts at the collision scene prior to fleeing.
Traffic Officers arrived and were able to get a detailed description of the suspect vehicle and license plate. While one of the Traffic Officers was responding to the collision, they observed the suspect vehicle that matched the description and reported plate. The Officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the suspect driver in the area of West Montecito Street and Castillo Street.
The suspect driver was identified as Jessica Mendoza, a 34-year-old Santa Barbara resident.
The investigation revealed Mendoza was involved in the collision and failed to stay at the scene, provide any exchange of information, or render aid to the injured juvenile. Mendoza was arrested and booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail for, Hit and Run with Injury (felony), Driving on a Suspended License (misdemeanor), Driving without an Alcohol Interlock Device (misdemeanor), and No Proof on Insurance (infraction). Mendoza’s vehicle was impounded, and she is being held on $50,000 bail.
The juvenile victim was not seriously injured.
Several hours later, on August 2, 2021, around 6:20pm, a Traffic Officer on a motorcycle was on a detail conducting problem-oriented speed enforcement in the area of 4000 Calle Real. The Officer observed a vehicle where the driver was clearly not wearing a seatbelt. The Officer conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver and passenger.
The driver, identified as Michael J. Diaz, a 28-year-old Buellton resident, informed the Officer he did not have a valid license. When it was confirmed Diaz did not have a valid license, the Officer asked if the passenger was licensed and if they could take custody of the car so it would not have to be towed. Upon checking on the passenger’s driving status, Officers learned Angelica Sancha Hernandez, a 25-year-old Santa Barbara resident, had a warrant for her arrest. Diaz also had three active warrants for his arrest and was on active parole. Both Diaz and Hernandez were taken into custody on scene.
A search of their vehicle revealed Hernandez was in possession of a large quantity of illegal narcotics that totaled over 4 pounds. Large amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, suboxone, clonazepam, and oxycodone were all located inside the vehicle. Also located inside the vehicle was a loaded 9mm handgun and a replica firearm that looks identical to an actual handgun. The vehicle was impounded by Officers.
Diaz was charged with Felon in Possession of Handgun (felony), Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sales (felony), Transportation of a Controlled Substance (felony), Possession of Methamphetamine for Sales (felony), Transportation of Methamphetamine (felony), Possession of a High Capacity Magazine (misdemeanor), Felon in Possession of Ammunition (misdemeanor), Use/Manufacture of a False Compartment Concealing Illegal Narcotics (misdemeanor), and the above mentioned warrants.
When booking Diaz in the Santa Barbara County Jail, it was discovered he had more narcotics hidden on him and an additional charge of Entering a Government Facility with Contraband (felony) was added. Diaz is being held without bail.
Hernandez was charged with Possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia (misdemeanor), Possession of Drugs without a Prescription (misdemeanor), and a warrant. She was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail. Bail was set at $50,000.