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Hospital officer arrested on drug, weapon charges

Leonel Lazaro

SANTA MARIA — An Atascadero State Hospital police officer has been arrested on numerous narcotics and weapons charges, authorities said.

Around 5 p.m. Monday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives arrested 36-year-old Leonel Lazaro, of Santa Maria, near the intersection of South College Drive and East Park Avenue. He was arrested on a Ramey warrant, which was issued based on an ongoing investigation led by the Sheriff’s Special Investigation Bureau, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.

Mr. Lazaro was arrested on suspicion of selling a firearm to a prohibited person, possession of a firearm while addicted to narcotics, conspiracy and embezzlement — all felonies. He was also arrested on suspicion of providing ammo to a prohibited person, a misdemeanor, Ms. Zick said.

Mr. Lazaro has since been released on $35,000 bail.

— Mitchell White

Three arrested in sex offender sting

SANTA BARBARA — Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Bureau concluded a month-long sex offender operation on Tuesday, which netted three arrests.

Detectives visited the residences of registered sex offenders in Santa Barbara County to ensure they were in compliance with their registration requirements. Detectives also conducted a sting operation using social media and arrested three suspects who had responded to the area of Turnpike Road and Hollister Avenue where they had planned to engage in sexual activity with a minor, which is a felony, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.

Scott Garey, 37, of Santa Barbara, was arrested Friday and booked at the Main Jail. He has since been released on $75,000 bail.

Pottanapong Phakdeeviset, 24, of Camarillo, was also arrested Friday and has been released on $75,000 bail, Ms. Zick said.

Jak Touma, 36, of Ventura, was arrested Saturday and is being held on $75,000 bail.

— Mitchell White

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