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Ventura drug bust: Suspect uses child as shield from pursuing officers

Jorge Garcia, 27, and Leah Montijo, 32, were arrested after fleeing Montijo's residence near Olive and McFarlane streets in Ventura on Friday, March 14, 2014. (Google Maps)
March 17, 2014 2:52:14 PM PDT
A Santa Paula man used a 9-year-old child as a shield in a standoff with officers before being taken into custody Friday.

Jorge Garcia, 27, and Leah Montijo, 32, were arrested after fleeing Montijo's residence near Olive and McFarlane streets in Ventura.

Detectives began investigating Montijo in February on information she was selling methamphetamine from her residence. During alleged drug deals, investigators identified Jorge Garcia, a documented Santa Paula gang member, as one of her associates, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

A search warrant was obtained for Montijo's person and residence, and sheriff's detectives and deputies moved in on March 14 as Montijo and Garcia were leaving her residence.

When a patrol unit activated sirens and lights, Garcia fled in a vehicle at a high rate of speed, but crashed on Olive Street. As sheriff's units blocked the car, Garcia was allegedly seen throwing a bag from the vehicle.

Approaching officers saw Montijo's 9-year-old son in the back seat of the vehicle. Garcia allegedly used the boy as a shield, but officers were able to take Garcia and Montijo into custody.

Approximately 5 ounces of heroin, 12 ounces of methamphetamine, a large sum of cash and a loaded, stolen handgun were found in the vehicle. The thrown bag was recovered with several ounces of methamphetamine, according to the department.

Garcia was arrested for conspiracy, felony child endangering, possession of heroin and methamphetamine for sale, transportation of heroin and methamphetamine, evading arrest, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm.

Montijo was arrested for conspiracy, felony child endangering, possession of heroin and methamphetamine for sale, transportation of heroin and methamphetamine, and resisting arrest.

Both were booked on $500,000 bail each.

Earlier in March, Garcia was alleged involved in a stolen car incident in Oxnard in which a large quantity of heroin and a loaded gun was found. Garcia evaded capture but was tied to the crime.


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