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A multi-agency effort on Oct. 16 led to 12 arrests and the seizure of half a ton of processed marijuana valued at approximately $1.25 million at the 9000 block of Betabel Road in San Juan Bautista. It is believed the structure was being used as a marijuana processing center and a residence for the “workers” there.

While conducting initial investigative actions regarding the odor of marijuana from the property, members of the Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team (UNET) noted a strong odor of marijuana from a building on the property.

During this initial action, UNET attempted to make contact with the occupants of a vehicle leaving the address and a person on the grounds. The vehicle fled from law enforcement and the subject ran away from the building into the nearby woods. About this same time, 20 to 30 males fled from the building from where the marijuana odor was coming into the nearby woods and hills. Twelve subjects were detained either attempting to flee the building or hiding inside during a protective sweep.

As a result of the search warrant service, more than 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana, most packaged for pound sales, was seized. The 12 subjects were arrested and booked into the San Benito County Jail for the cultivation/processing of marijuana; and possession for sale of marijuana and criminal conspiracy. It is estimated that the value of the collected marijuana is approximately $1.25 million (at $1,200 a pound). Assisting in the investigation were the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team (SCCSET) and the Gilroy Police Department.

Arrested subjects were:

  • Pasiano Ruiz, age 23 of Fresno
  • Jacinto Ramirez, 50, of Selma
  • Roberto Sanchez Ruiz, 29, of King City
  • Fernando Berdugo, 20, of Salinas
  • Guillermo Ruiz, 25, of Santa Rosa
  • Jose Perez, a 40-year-old transient
  • Santos Ramos, 36, of East Palo Alto
  • Amadeo Avendanio, 24, of Morgan Hill
  • .Felipe Merino, 23, of Bakersfield
  • Benito Martinez, 23, of Gilroy
  • Daniel Caverro, 22, of Gilroy
  • Joel Garcia Torres, 24, of San Jose