An Arroyo Grande man is in hot water with the law. He was busted for participating in Deltopia by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office which just announced the results of a comprehensive investigation following the civil disturbance that broke out on April 5, 2014 at Deltopia, an unsanctioned spring break party in Isla Vista. During that civil unrest, 26 civilians received injuries and were transported to the hospital, and six Sheriff’s deputies and one UCSB Police Officer were also injured, many from rocks, bricks and bottles that were thrown at them. Seventeen people were arrested during the disturbance.
In the aftermath of Deltopia, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation to identify, locate and arrest other persons who had participated in the violence and destruction. Through the assistance of anonymous tips and video obtained from various sources, Sheriff’s detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division were able to identify, locate and arrest eight additional suspects. Detectives traveled as far away as South Lake Tahoe, the Bay Area and Los Angeles County to take these suspects into custody.
The most recent arrest occurred this past Friday, July 11, in Oxnard, when investigators arrested 23-year-old Agustin Guerrero at his work place. Guerrero was the suspect wearing a “Deltopia 14” monogrammed hat who was captured on video throwing a large rock at a white van, owned by UCLA, at Camino Del Sur and Sabado Tarde. Following this act of vandalism, a mob completely destroyed the vehicle. Detectives believe Guerrero’s initial act of vandalism incited and encouraged others to destroy the vehicle. Sheriff’s detectives served a search warrant at his residence and several pieces of evidence were seized. Guerrero was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on an outstanding $50,000 arrest warrant for felony vandalism and inciting a riot. He also had a $5,000 unrelated traffic warrant.
Sheriff’s detectives also identified and arrested the suspect seen in a widely-shown video jumping on top of the white UCLA van. 19-year-old Geddy Miller was arrested in South Lake Tahoe on April 18, transported to the El Dorado County Jail, and booked on charges of inciting a riot and felony vandalism.
Other arrests include 22-year-old William Hopkins, a UCSB student from Goleta, who was taken into custody on April 6 for refusing to disperse and remaining at a riot.
19-year-old Arron Cozza of Arroyo Grande was identified as the suspect documented on video pulling a stop sign out of the ground and waving it around. He was arrested on April 10 at Santa Barbara City College where he attended school. Cozza was booked on charges of receiving stolen property and theft. Also on April 10, Sheriff’s detectives arrested 20-year-old Mike Duenas of Acton, California. He was transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail and booked on charges of inciting a riot.
On April 15, 21-year-old Austin Escobedo was arrested in Santa Barbara and booked on charges of making terrorist threats and participating in a riot. On April 17, 21-year-old Jorge Santana was arrested in San Lorenzo after he was identified as a suspect who threw two canisters of tear gas at deputies. He was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of obstructing and resisting a peace officer with violence.
18-year-old Justin Mott of Valencia, identified as a suspect who vandalized a car in a grocery store parking lot in Goleta following the disturbance, was arrested in Valencia on May 21.
He was booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s sub-station located in Santa Clarita on charges of felony vandalism.
In addition to the eight suspects arrested following Deltopia, the Sheriff’s Office has also sent four other cases to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office requesting review for possible charges ranging from being present at a riot to felony vandalism.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown reacted to the arrests by saying, “The determined actions of our detectives in identifying and arresting these suspects should cause anyone who believes they can travel to Isla Vista and behave with reckless disregard for others and their property to think twice. Our message is clear. If you engage in this type of criminal activity we will track you down, arrest you, and bring you to justice.”
The Sheriff’s Office estimated that as many as twenty thousand people attended Deltopia this year, and that the event drew an unprecedented number of “out-of-towners.” A total of 470 people were arrested or cited in connection with the event, including 457 adults and 13 juveniles. Of the 457 adult offenders, 141 (30%) were identified (either through self-disclosure or investigation) as being affiliated with 66 different educational institutions, including 64 from California and 2 from out-of-state. Of these 141, 43 (30%) were local: 21 (15%) from UC Santa Barbara and 22 (15%) from Santa Barbara City College. Of the remainder, 96 (68%) were from out-of-area colleges and universities, and 2 (1%) were out-of-area high school students of adult age (18 or older).
The Sheriff’s Office extends its thanks to the public for assisting detectives with the investigation by providing important tips, photographs and video. Detectives continue to seek information regarding additional suspects who participated in the civil unrest and committed crimes against people and property. Anyone with information is encouraged to call our anonymous tip-line at 805-681-4171.