UPDATE: Arrests now number 49 in the San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s “Operation Cruel Summer,” a bust of a very large, Fallbrook-based, drug and weapons trafficking ring.
Two arrests made today, Wed., Sept. 19, have now been added to the existing list (in story below) of suspects taken into custody.
47 locals arrested in “Operation Cruel Summer,” Fallbrook-based drug and weapons trafficking ring
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. announced this morning, Tuesday, September 18, that 47 local residents have been arrested in connection with a major drug and weapons trafficking operation based in Fallbrook. The majority of arrests were made during a warrant sweep conducted at 6 a.m. today. Some 246 deputies and federal agents took part in the effort.
“This has been a six-month operation the Sheriff’s Dept. and several other agencies have been working on,” said Jan Caldwell, public affairs director for the Sheriff’s Dept.” Caldwell said other agencies involved included the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Border Patrol, U.S. Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, and many others.
Caldwell said the agencies collectively did a substantial amount of footwork and undercover “buys” to build the case against those arrested.
“Officers made more than 100 buys as part of this operation,” said Caldwell. “This is a good example of: agencies working together, taxpayers’ dollars at work, and how we are earning our pay.”
In serving the search warrants, officers collected 40 lbs. of marijuana, 31 lbs. of heroin, 25 lbs. of methamphetamine, 40 firearms, and $165,000 in cash. Caldwell also said a significant amount of alcohol was seized.
“My first reaction to seeing these numbers is that a high school child is not going to be ingesting those now,” said Caldwell.
In addition to Fallbrook locations, search warrants were executed at locations in Bonsall, Rainbow, Oceanside and San Bernardino County.
Caldwell also stated that the operation was launched into the ring based on valuable information local residents provided to the Sheriff’s Dept.
“This case was predicated on citizen complaints,” she confirmed. “Law enforcement depends on input from residents in the community. It was because some things were brought to our attention that we were able to make all these arrests in this case.”
Caldwell said the trafficking ring was a large-scale operation and labeled it “a continuing criminal enterprise.”
“This [ring] couldn’t have gotten this big without having a significant history to it,” she said. “It was quite a blight on [Fallbrook’s] local society.”
The identities of some of those arrested include:
Sims, Jessie Sr., 50 – Fallbrook
Vasquez, Cynthia, 44 – Fallbrook
Sims, Joseph, 32 – Fallbrook
Mclean, Ariel, 21 – Fallbrook
Lupercio, Carlos, 28 – Fallbrook
Banks, Richard, 46 – Fallbrook
Wyman, Stephen, 32 – Fallbrook
Bolding, Jesse, 22 – Fallbrook
Lindsey, Ronald, 27 – Fallbrook
Escabedo, Raul, 23 – Fallbrook
Gonzales, Juan, 45, – Fallbrook
Rios, Gustavo, 38, – Fallbrook
Artiega, Eduardo, 23 – Fallbrook
Wood, Brok, 21 – Fallbrook
Belleville, Joshua, 21 – Fallbrook
Fore, Daniel, 44 – Fallbrook
Bowling, Kent, 65 – Fallbrook
Vargas, Maria, 21 – Fallbrook
Youssi, Justin, 21 – Fallbrook
Fountain, Mark, 50 – Fallbrook
Rowe, Gerald, 21 – Oceanside
Costa, Bethany, 22 – Vista
Bruno, James, 25 – Fallbrook
Lupercio, Daniel, 26 – Fallbrook
Santacruz, Eduardo, 29 – Fallbrook
Prather, Oscar, 43 – Fallbrook
Ochoa, Michael, 39 – Fallbrook
Hernandez, Cesar, 36 – Fallbrook
Zamudio, Jose, 44 – Fallbrook
Monje, Isidro, 58 – Fallbrook
Harris, Robert, 50 – Fallbrook
Belleville, Nathan, 29 – Fallbrook
Halkias, Channing, 38 – Fallbrook
Abudamous, Sukaina, 19 – Fallbrook (added 9-19-12; arrested 9-19-12)
Lopez, Monica, 32 – Fallbrook (added 9-19-12; arrested 9-19-12)
A partial list of the physical locations that arrests were made at include (by block number and street name, specific address not released):
1200 block E. Mission Road
100 block Ellis Lane
700 block N. Vine St.
900 block Alturas Lane
300 block W. Clemmens Lane
2000 block E. Mission Road
300 block E. Dougherty St.
600 block Elbrook Drive
100 block Morro Hills Road
400 block Debby St.
1400 block Alturas Road
800 block E. Alvarado St.
200 block Calle La Paloma
1100 block Old Stage Road
1000 block N. Iowa St.
1100 block Alturas Rd.
1500 block Green Canyon Lane
2700 block E. Mission Rd.
Caldwell also noted that the investigation into the ring is not over and officers are continuing to work more leads. Those with any information that might be helpful to law enforcement are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers, toll free, at (888) 580-8477.