VPD snips out salon’s narcotics operation

(VIsalia Police Department.)

Visalia officers unmask illegal operations at Gorgeous Salon, uncover firearms, ammunition and narcotics stashed in salon

VISALIA – Law enforcement unveiled a hair-raising revelation this week after a routine search warrant uncovered that a local salon wasn’t just serving up beauty, but also illegal firearms and narcotics.

On March 6, the Visalia PD Narcotics Unit and Special Enforcement Unit served a search warrant at a residence in the 15000 block of Ave. 256. Detectives then served a search warrant at the Gorgeous Salon in the 500 block of South Lovers Lane.

In the salon, detectives located firearms, ammunition and a large quantity of narcotics. Investigation revealed that Denise Souza, 54, of Visalia, had been selling narcotics from the salon and throughout Visalia.

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(Visalia Police Department.)

Souza was arrested for possession of narcotics for sale, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition and possession of an assault weapon that was privately manufactured. She was booked into the Tulare County Adult Pretrial Detention Facility.

Additionally, the City of Visalia Code Enforcement responded and issued a cease-and-desist order for the Gorgeous Salon. There were no indications that any other employees of the salon were involved in criminal activity.

March 5

The Visalia Police Department H.O.P.E. Team and Commercial Policing Unit conducted a retail theft detail in the city of Visalia. During the investigation, officers made 12 arrests and recovered over $7,500 in property.

These arrests included arrests for felony retail theft, robbery, conspiracy and narcotics related charges. The purpose of these details is to target and reduce organized retail theft which continues to be a problem in our community.

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(Visalia Police Department.)

“The Visalia Police Department would like to thank our partners in the loss prevention industry for their partnership and unwavering dedication to helping to curb this disturbing trend,” VPD stated via the announcement. “We will continue to relentlessly pursue justice on behalf of our businesses who are targeted by these groups.”

The following subjects were arrested:

  • Michael Vince Ortega, 43, of Fresno was arrested for felony organized retail theft. Ortega was wanted in five counties for large scale thefts.
  • Oliver Ortiz, 29, of Fresno was arrested for retail theft and tied to additional thefts in the area as well as in Fresno.
  • Joseph Chavez, 36, of Visalia was arrested for retail theft, conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance.
  • Nisha Finney, 36, of Visalia was arrested for retail theft and conspiracy.
  • David Caldwell, 53, of Exeter was arrested for retail theft.
  • Lindsay Temple, 38, of Visalia was arrested for armed robbery and conspiracy.
  • Heather Laustin, 39, of Visalia was arrested for armed robbery and conspiracy.
  • Kenna Harris, 36, of Fresno was arrested for felony organized retail theft, conspiracy and narcotics violations.
  • Ashely Burgins, 35, of Fresno was arrested for felony organized retail theft and conspiracy.
  • Destiny Stiles, 25, of Fresno was arrested for felony organized retail theft and conspiracy.
  • Fredy Solorio, 35, of Visalia was arrested for felony organized retail theft and conspiracy.
  • Benito Arzate Jr., 37, of Visalia was arrested for felony organized retail theft and conspiracy.

Feb. 29

At 8:15 a.m., the Tulare County Agencies Regional Gun Violence Enforcement Team (TARGET Task Force) – with the assistance from detectives with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office TAGNET and CATTCH Units as well as agents with the California Department of Justice – served two search warrants at a residence in the 700 block of N. Elmwood Ave. in Lindsay and at an apartment in the 2900 block of W. Caldwell Ave. in Visalia.

During the searches, one handgun, two rifles, two shotguns, four large capacity magazines, 22 standard capacity ammunition feeding devices, live ammunition, over 200 grams of cocaine, as well as items and materials consistent with the sales of controlled substances were located and seized.

As a result of the search, convicted felon Angel Vasquez, 25, and his girlfriend Wendy Rodriguez, 24, were arrested.

Vasquez was arrested and booked into the Tulare County South County Detention Facility for active warrants for possession for sales of controlled substances as well as a DUI. He was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, possession for sales of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance as well as child endangerment.

Rodriguez was booked at the Tulare County Adult Pre-Trial Facility on charges of possession for sales of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance.

If anyone has information regarding the illegal possession or manufacturing of firearms, please contact the TARGET Task Force Tip line at 559-713-4738.

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