following a stakeout of at the Budget Inn Motel in San Luis Obispo. Photo submitted
The County Sheriff’s Department arrested four people for alleged drug sales and weapons violations after the alleged crooks stumbled into their grasp during a stakeout of a San Luis Obispo motel.
According to Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla, the Special Operations Unit of the department was “conducting surveillance at the Budget Inn Motel in the 1000 block of Olive Street in San Luis Obispo. Detectives observed four people arrive in a vehicle and enter a motel room.” The suspicious subjects were three women and one man and some of them were recognized.
“Detectives,” Cipolla said, “recognized two of the people as being on probation and having active probation violation warrants. Detectives contacted the subjects and searched the motel room and vehicle.” They discovered a trove of suspected drugs and guns.
“Detectives,” Cipolla said, “seized approximately 1.3 pounds [589 grams] of methamphetamine, 3.4 ounces [96 grams] of fentanyl, and a loaded Glock style ghost handgun.” A so-called ghost gun is one made from a mail-order kit and doesn’t have a serial number.
Cipolla said if the drugs were sold by the gram they’d be worth some $15,000. Four people were arrested: Emma Raeann Leal, 24 of Nipomo; Serena Lynn Bishop, 42 of Oceano; Austin James Ross, 38 of San Luis Obispo; and Jennifer Dennine Wilder, 50 of Paso Robles. All four were arrested and booked into County Jail.
Ross was charged with suspicion of possess for sale of a controlled substance while armed, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Leal was charged with suspicion of possession for sale of a controlled substance. Bishop was charged with suspicion of possession for sale of a controlled substance, committing a felony while out on bail, and a “Post Release Community Supervision” (PRCS) violation warrant.
Wilder was arrested for alleged possession for sale of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed, felon in possession of a firearm, and a probation violation warrant.
The case is a good example of how things like probation and issuing warrants for what is essentially failure to appear in court can be used by law enforcement to thwart other crimes, as someone with a bench warrant or who is on active probation or parole is subject to arrest or being searched wherever they are.