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Arrests now number 49 in "Operation Cruel Summer," Fallbrook-based drug and weapons trafficking ring


Last updated 9/18/2012 at Noon

Multiple law enforcement agencies have worked to make 49 arrests and have seized a variety of drugs and weapons (some of which are pictured above) in Operation Cruel Summer.

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

Debbie Ramsey

Managing Editor

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.

The Sheriff's Dept. said $165,000 in cash was also seized in the search warrants executed during Operation Cruel Summer.

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.


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