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Detectives arrested three suspects, including a male and female from Santa Maria, and seized a cache of vehicles, drugs, money and firearms, including "ghost guns," following a search warrant served by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, according to a spokesman.
At least 47 inmates from Santa Barbara County were released early from state prison in July, or are due to be released, as part of an effort by California officials to maximize space for social distancing and other health measures to stop spread of COVID-19.
Santa Maria Police reported 207 cars stolen in the months of March and April 2020, compared to 57 in the same time period of last year, which they're attributing to a new emergency court rule that keeps low-level offenders out of jail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly half of those arrested by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies are being released with citations instead of spending time behind bars due to an April 6 statewide emergency order meant to keep people out of jail due to coronavirus.
A motion filed Friday by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office asked a Superior Court judge to not reduce the bail for a suspect charged in connection to the alleged shooting death of a Lompoc teenager on March 25.
Darrel Parker, the executive officer for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court, explained how the Department 8 courtroom of the Santa Maria Courthouse will be modified for the Operation Matador criminal trial, which is expected to last at least one year.