Four people were arrested on Thursday in Santa Barbara after sheriff's officials say they served multiple search warrants across the city in connection with a double murder in Goleta last month.
On January 7, authorities responded to a shooting on Burtis St. and found two young men with gunshot wounds seated in a vehicle.
Enzo Marino Rastelli, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jasper Pieter van der Meulen, 19, was hospitalized and died three weeks later.
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the two men were college students who were selling marijuana and apparently became the victims of a "robbery ripoff." He said investigators recovered a 1/2-pound of marijuana at the scene and that there was no indication the two victims were armed when they were shot.
On Thursday, sheriff's officials served search warrants at four homes on Robbins, Cota, Voluntario, and San Pascual streets.
Three men and one 15-year-old boy were arrested.
Sheriff Brown said at least two of the suspects, Bryan Munoz, 21, and Joshua Vega, 24, are believed to be directly related to the robbery and murders.
Munoz was arrested on charges that include two counts of murder, robbery, criminal conspiracy, and gang-related charges. Vega was arrested on suspicion of robbery and criminal conspiracy.
The teen was arrested on an outstanding no-bail warrant for a probation violation and the fourth suspect, 32-year-old Jorge Luis Silva Guevara, was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs for sale. Brown said Guevara resisted arrest and was tased during the operation.
Sheriff Brown said the investigation is still ongoing and there could be more arrests.
Hope Slason, who was a friend of Rastelli, spoke out just prior to Thursday's press conference.
"I was confident that they would find the person responsible and I really hope they have," she said. "It shouldn't happen to anybody, just shouldn't. It shouldn't happen to a young kid, it shouldn't happen to a young man, it shouldn't happen to a friend. You know, he could have been a teacher. Enzo had so much potential, so it's good to keep his memory alive."
Brown said Rastelli attended Santa Barbara City College and van der Meulen was a UC Santa Barbara student.
He said Thursday's announcement should send a clear message to people who commit crimes in Santa Barbara County that, "We will hunt you down... We will arrest you. We will put you in jail and we will put you to justice."
Munoz is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail without bail. Vega's bail was set at $50,000.
Brown said investigators want to know if there have been other instances of this type of "robbery ripoff," but he acknowledged that people may be reluctant to come forward to report such a crime.
"I would just like to say to anyone out there who was a victim of these criminals, please contact us. We're not interested in the drug dealing in this case, we're interested in the violent robbery and the group of people that may have committed a series of these types of crimes," he said.
To make an anonymous tip about this case or another crime, call (805) 681-4171 or visit the sheriff's website.