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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Monday March 29th, 2021 :: 04:05 p.m. PDT


Ojai Traffic Stop Yields Large Amount of Narcotics and Out of State Fugitive

Nature of Incident: A routine traffic stop yields large amount of methamphetamine, marijuana, stolen credit cards, and an out of state fugitive. 
Report Number: 21-41094
Location: 300 Block East Ojai Avenue Ojai CA 
Date & Time: 03/28/2021 @ 7:15 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Ojai Police Department
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(S) Crooks, Chelsey
(S) Esparza, Martin
Ventura, CA
Perris, CA
During a routine traffic investigation, Ojai Deputies identified a wanted fugitive from Arizona who was on parole. The investigation further revealed that he and his associate were in possession of about twelve ounces of methamphetamine, sixteen ounces of marijuana, approximately two dozen stolen credit / debit cards, and fraudulent license plates. 
A Ventura County Deputy Sheriff patrolling in the City of Ojai noticed a black Dodge pickup truck in the area of the Chevron Gas Station displaying fraudulent license plates. When deputies contacted the two occupants, they learned the driver, (S) Chelsey Crooks, did not have a license in her possession. The passenger, (S) Martin Esparza, stated he had a license and could drive the truck. A records check on Esparza revealed he was wanted in the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, and was also a wanted felon from the State of Arizona. Furthermore, Esparza is currently on parole for identity theft and fraud.
Deputies then learned that Crooks provided a false name and date of birth. Deputies also learned that Crooks is currently on probation for auto theft from Sacramento County.
A subsequent search of the vehicle the two were driving led to the seizure of a large quantity of methamphetamine (11.9 ounces) and two large bags of marijuana (16 ounces). Deputies also located multiple credit, debit, and EBT cards in other people’s names.
Esparza was booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura for transportation for sale of methamphetamine, illegal possession of marijuana (more than 28.5 grams), warrants, and a parole violation.
Crooks was booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura for transportation for sale of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance, providing false identity to a peace officer, identity theft, and fraudulent license plates. 
Prepared by: Sgt. Kevin Donoghue  
News Release Date: 03/29/2021  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Det. Gunner Dike (805) 646-1414  
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Jose Rivera
 YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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