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Pursuit in Ventura County leads deputies to retail theft ring, alleged drug dealer

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A simple traffic stop in Ventura County escalated into a pursuit that ended with authorities arresting two alleged members of an organized theft ring and an apparent drug dealer operating out of an Oxnard barbershop.

It happened on Nov. 27, when deputies with the Camarillo Special Enforcement Unit pulled over Carlos Hernandez and Moises Lopez for an equipment violation outside of the Camarillo Premium Outlets. As soon as the detectives tried to pull over the pair, Lopez sped away, passing multiple stop signs and swerving into other lanes. 

During the brief pursuit, the pair continued to speed away from police until they hit a traffic jam. Hernandez jumped out of the car and ran toward the nearby mall while Lopez surrendered to police. Deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office later caught up to Hernandez and arrested him.

When detectives cleared the pair's car, they discovered stolen clothes, hats and other merchandise, some of which still had security tags on them. After returning the items to the retailers at the local mall, deputies determined that additional items may have been stashed at Lopez's home and workplace, a barbershop in Oxnard. 

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies raided the barbershop, where they found Roberto Gomez in possession of an unregistered firearm and cocaine. Detectives said that they believed he intended to sell the cocaine. 

The trio have been arrested for several crimes and are being held until their first court date. 

Hernandez was out on bail for an organized retail theft charge from October 2023. Gomez was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

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