For the past two weeks, the Law Enforcement & Investigations branch of the US Forest Service has had extra personnel in the Kern Valley area to address the high level of drug activity in the Sequoia National Forest and surrounding communities. The focus has been on large scale marijuana growers in the remote mountain areas, but many methamphetamine related incidents and other crimes have also been investigated during the period.
The following is a synopsis of arrests and significant incidents handled by the USFS LE personnel:
June 27 – Timothy Lange, 34, of Weldon was stopped for vehicle code violations in the area of Highway 178 and Navajo. Lange was detained and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and vehicle code violations.
June 27 – Daniel Witzig of Lake Isabella was arrested for outstanding warrants during a traffic stop on Old Kern Canyon Road.
June 27 – Jonathan Winnmerer, 31, of Lake Isabella was detained during a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 178 and Kelso Valley Road after being found with a hypodermic syringe. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia
June 26 – Jennifer Jackson, 21, and Luis Ramirez, 23, of Ventura were arrested at Remington Hot Springs for possession of Ecstasy and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
June 23 – Marco Villapudua, 31, of Lake Isabella was stopped for passing an unmarked patrol vehicle over the double solid center lines and smoking marijuana while driving while entering Wofford Heights on Burlando Road. Villapudua was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and packaging materials. Villapudua was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sales, transporting methamphetamine and destruction of evidence.
June 23 – Christopher Castro was stopped on Highway 178 at Highway 155 and arrested for driving with a driver’s license suspended for DUI, failure to yield and possession of an open container.
June 22 – Jesseph Majid, 24, of Lake Isabella was arrested for reckless driving and possession of marijuana in a vehicle after he passed an unmarked patrol vehicle over the double solid center lines on Highway 155 near Keyesville Road on a blind corner and was observed driving in excess of 100 MPH.
June 20 – Jacob Shibata, 37, of Lake Isabella was arrested for multiple outstanding warrants during a traffic stop on Highway 178 west of Borel road.
June 19 – Burton Brand, aka “Bucky”, 43, of Lake Isabella was contacted at Auxiliary Dam Campground for vehicle code violations and citizen reports of suspicious activity. Brand was found to be in possession of approximately 2 ounces of methamphetamine and a large amount of cash. Brand was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sales, transporting methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
June 19 – Zachary Long, 19, of Barstow was detained after he passed an unmarked patrol vehicle over the double solid center lines on a blind corner on Sierra Way near Robinson Cove and almost causing a head on collision with oncoming traffic. Long was also observed driving in excess of 100 MPH at Hanning Flat. Long was charged with multiple vehicle code violations. A passenger in the vehicle was also cited for possessing an open container of alcohol.
June 19 – Abbigale Jaques-Williams, 39, of Lake Isabella was stopped on Highway 178 at Old Isabella Road for vehicle code violations. Jaques-Williams was detained and charged with falsifying vehicle registration, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of fentanyl and prescription drugs without a prescription.