Seven-month hunt for drug dealer ends in Santa Barbara

GOLETA — A narcotics investigation lasting more than seven months concluded Friday with the arrest of 29-year-old Brandon Gaffke on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine and heroin.

Santa Barbara County narcotics detectives, working with local sheriff’s patrol units, spotted Gaffke’s vehicle on a commercial thoroughfare in Goleta just north of Santa Barbara’s city limits on June 18, and attempted to conduct a traffic stop pursuant to pending search and arrest warrants.

“When the suspect saw the deputies pulling up behind him, he took off and the chase was on,” sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars recounted when contacted by phone about the arrest report.

Two miles of pursuit through a series of residential neighborhoods ensued during which deputies witnessed various objects being ejected from the fleeing vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Gaffke brought his vehicle to a stop on a major roadway just north of U.S. Highway 101, and was taken into custody at gunpoint and without further incident.

Investigation of Gaffke’s would-be escape route was then conducted, and it was discovered that he had tossed a full ounce of crystal meth and three ounces of heroin from the moving vehicle onto the otherwise peaceful local residential avenues.

“Detectives estimate the value of the drugs to be in the neighborhood of $10,000,” Sugars explained, adding that Gaffke was also found in possession of $1,500 cash at the time of his arrest.

According to Sugars, narcotics detectives then served their search warrant upon the residence of Gaffke and recovered various items of drug paraphernalia and various pills with questionable prescription history. Gaffke currently sits in Santa Barbara County Jail on multiple charges of felony possession of methamphetamine and heroin for sale, and transportation of both illicit drugs for sales.

Brandon Gaffke


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