“Eighteen search warrants in one day throughout Southern California is a major undertaking and requires the cooperation and expertise of many law enforcement partners including the investigators at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Sophisticated stolen car rings that operate in several jurisdictions can translate into complicated investigations, but these officers got a major portion of the job done, as the investigation continues.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
VENTURA COUNTY – On May 24, 2023, a joint investigation led to the arrest of nine people suspected of orchestrating a sophisticated stolen vehicle operation. Law enforcement officers served search warrants at 18 locations throughout Southern California, which led to the seizure of:
- 28 suspected stolen vehicles,
- more than $130,000 in cash,
- four handguns,
- one rifle
- and high-capacity magazines.
Since November of 2022, 16 Dodge “Hellcat” equipped, high-performance vehicles were stolen in Ventura County. Each of these vehicles were estimated to be worth more than $90,000. Of the 16 stolen, 10 have been recovered and detectives are continuously working to recover the remaining vehicles.
Through this investigation, the Thousand Oaks Special Enforcement Unit and VENCATT learned that investigators from various San Bernardino County law enforcement agencies were also experiencing stolen vehicles in their jurisdiction with a similar mode of operating. A person suspected of facilitating the stolen vehicles in San Bernardino County was also connected to the Ventura County Investigation.
The 18 search warrants were served at locations throughout Southern California, including the City of Los Angeles, and other locations in Kern County and San Bernardino County. Four suspects were arrest by Ventura County law enforcement and five suspects were arrested by San Bernardino law enforcement.
Evidence was seized related to facilitating the unlawful sales of stolen vehicles, including the fraudulent registration of stolen vehicles, and evidence of fraudulent smog certifications.
Arrested by Ventura County law enforcement officers were: Marcellous Ryan, Michael Carter, Jesus Flores and Lilian Cardona.