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Auto shop exposed as cover for drug operation, 4 charged

Four California residents are facing drug-related charges after law enforcement officials learned that they were using a local auto repair shop as a cover to sell controlled substances. The four men were detained after Ventura County Sheriff's Office investigators executed search warrants at five locations on May 12.

Earlier in 2017, the county sheriff's special crimes unit received information concerning the suspected illicit activity at the auto shop, which is located on E. Main Street in Santa Paula. Upon execution of the search warrants, investigators seized 2.7 pounds of cocaine and 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine. The drugs have a combined street value of more than $200,000, according to a spokesperson with the unit.

The four men were in custody in Ventura County jail on felony charges pending a May 25 court date at Ventura County Superior Court. The 32-year-old owner of the shop, who faces special enhancements of possessing over 1 kilogram of cocaine, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of selling or transporting a controlled substance during earlier proceedings. An allegedly close business associate, who pleaded not guilty to similar charges, is also facing a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance with a firearm. The two remaining men have also entered pleas in connection with this case.

People who find themselves facing serious drug charges like these may find it beneficial to seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Depending on the facts of the case, the attorney may be able to uncover deficiencies that could lead to a dismissal of the charges or negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or penalties.

Source: Ventura County Star, "4 charged in drug sales at Santa Paula auto shop", Marjorie Hernandez, May 20, 2017

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