Police: Eight arrested for drugs, guns

Three-year-old child found in home where THC extraction lab was operating


Eight suspects were making marijuana extract oil and were in possession of firearms at a Hollister residence while a 3-year-old child was inside the home, according to police.

Police arrested all eight suspects during a May 26 raid on the Hawkins Street home, on suspicion of a variety of offenses related to gun possession, drugs, manufacturing of drugs and child endangerment.

Just after 11pm May 26, police responded to the home at 29 Hawkins Street in relation to a report of a suspect holding a handgun and being involved in a previous shooting, according to a May 30 press release from Hollister Police Department. Officers responded to the same residence May 21, on a report that someone fired a handgun into the air. The May 21 visit did not result in any arrests or evidence of a crime, as no one was visible at the property.

In response to the May 29 report, Hollister Police officers and San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies approached the residence and saw several people drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in the open garage, police said. The officers identified themselves, and several suspects—including one holding a firearm—ran from the garage into the home.

Police chased the suspects into the home. Some of the suspects attempted to prevent officers from entering, according to police.

The officers were able to enter the home, where they confronted several uncooperative suspects—including two who were hiding in a closet, according to the press release.

Police located a number of handguns and a 3-year-old child inside the home during the initial search, according to authorities.

Officers then obtained a search warrant at the home. The search revealed evidence of a “butane honey oil” laboratory, two handguns, methamphetamine, concentrated cannabis, prescription pills and other items “commonly used when selling drugs,” police said. Hollister Police called the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team, whose agents responded to the scene to disable the THC extraction lab.

The following were arrested in relation to the illegal activity found at the residence, according to police: Juan Manual Vasquez, Jr., 43, on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a large capacity magazine, possession of a controlled substance while armed and several local warrants; Juan Manual Vasquez III, 19, on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, and two warrants; Elizabeth Vasquez, 44, on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child; Elizabeth Vasquez, 20, on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child; Christopher Houg, 21, on suspicion of child endangerment and obstructing officers; Michael Barrientos, 19, on suspicion of obstructing officers and child endangerment; Pedro Lira-Padilla, 23, on suspicion of obstructing an officer, willful cruelty to a child, possession of a large capacity magazine and carrying a loaded firearm; and Darius Parks, 19, on suspicion of obstructing an officer, child endangerment and possession of a firearm.

Authorities cautioned that using butane to extract THC from marijuana plants is “an extremely dangerous process,” with a high likelihood of explosions.

Hollister Police officers also took the arrests as an opportunity to remind residents that even though possession of a certain amount of marijuana products is legal in California, the extraction of THC in a residential area, using butane, remains illegal.

Anyone with information about this case can contact the Hollister Police Department at (831) 636-4330. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

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