SANTA MARIA — Thursday was a busy day for Santa Barbara County narcotics detectives conducting parole searches and investigating ongoing drug transactions throughout the area.
Their first arrest of the day was made during a parole search of Daniel Lee Tagles, 54, who was determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance in violation of the terms of his parole. He was booked on charges of possession of a controlled substance and parole violation.
Shortly after, a traffic stop was conducted on Richard Eppert, 29.
“We knew he had just returned from Illinois”, sheriff’s department spokesman Drew Sugars told reporters a day after the May 12 sweep, “and we had a 2007 warrant waiting for him.” Eppert was found in possession of multiple prescription drugs in quantities indicating sales activities.
Alex Ausan, 31, “known to be active in drug sales,” according to Sugars, “had been under surveillance” and was observed conducting a narcotics transaction just before he was contacted in a second traffic stop in a Santa Maria Motel 6 parking lot.
The passenger in his car, Irene Rea, 45, was found to have an outstanding warrant as well as more than 6 grams of methamphetamine. When she was booked into Santa Barbara County jail following the arrest, she was discovered to possess numerous prescription pills hidden on her person. She was charged with methamphetamine sales and with smuggling narcotics into a jail facility.
As detectives were interrogating Ausan and Rea, the two suspects revealed details of their operation and named Joseph Munoz, 33, and Jennifer Agic, 26, as confederates in an ongoing methamphetamine sales effort, indicating that Munoz and Agic were residing in the Motel 6.
With that information, Sugars said “detectives established a surveillance perimeter.”
Shortly thereafter, Munoz and Agic were observed arriving in the motel parking lot. Munoz made a brief attempt to flee but was quickly detained by deputies, and a third occupant of the vehicle, Enrique Rico, 38, was found in possession of a dagger.
A search of their motel room revealed a cache of methamphetamine, scales, packaging materials, and assorted drug marketing paraphernalia.
Munoz and Agic were booked into the Santa Maria jail on possession of methamphetamine for sales and Rico was booked for possession of a deadly weapon and on an outstanding warrant.