The Santa Maria Police Department says they arrested a Santa Maria male resident on Friday, Feb. 17 due to alleged criminal threats against officers.
At approximately 9:46 p.m., the Santa Maria Police Department say they received information regarding SMPD officers and officers’ family members being threatened via social media posts. Officers initiated an investigation and a suspect, 34-year-old Albert Varelas, was identified. Varelas’ social media account was also located.
During the initial investigation, several more social media posts were made by Varelas and observed by officers in real time involving further threats against SMPD officers and family members. Varelas' threats referenced previous police contact and current threats to “kill” officers & family members.
Further investigation confirmed that Varelas was targeting & stalking officers’ homes in the Santa Maria area. Officers obtained an arrest warrant for Varelas’ but were unable to locate him.
On Saturday, Feb. 18, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the SMPD Detective Bureau took over the investigation. Detectives were able to track Varelas to a location in the Orcutt area near Foster Road & Hummel Drive. On Saturday afternoon with assistance from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Patrol Division & the SMPD Patrol Division, SMPD Detectives were able to safely locate and arrest Varelas without incident.
Police say Varelas, a Santa Maria resident, was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on the criminal threats warrant. Investigators will also be recommending the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office review the case for related stalking charges. Anyone with information related to this investigation is encouraged to contact SMPD Detective Eduardo Servin at (805) 928–378 x1362, or the SMPD Communications Center at (805) 928 -3781 x2277.