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8 people arrested by deputies in Bear Fire evacuation zone

Authorities arrested several people on Monday after locating them in the Bear Fire evacuation zone.

Posted: Sep 15, 2020 12:53 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 12:55 PM

BERRY CREEK, Calif. – Authorities arrested several people on Monday after locating them in the Bear Fire evacuation zone.

On Monday, Sept. 14, an evacuated Bear Fire survivor was checking his home surveillance cameras from an offsite location. While viewing the surveillance footage, the resident noticed a person trespassing on his property, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office (BCSO). The resident immediately contacted law enforcement.

Deputies said they responded to the area of Dancing Wind Drive in Forbestown and contacted six individuals in two vehicles. The six individuals were identified as Cristian Ayala, age 32, of Lincoln, Burt Floyd, age 50, of Lincoln, Guadalupe Garcia, age 42, of Lincoln, Guadalupe Garcia Jr., age 22, of Lincoln, William Peterson, age 61, of Berry Creek, and Anthony Gannett, age 61, of Berry Creek.

Detectives conducted an investigation and determined Peterson had been trespassing on at least one evacuated property. Detectives determined Garcia, Garcia Jr., Peterson, and Gannett were associated with two properties located within the Berry Creek evacuation zone, according to BCSO. Detectives located evidence showing the aforementioned Berry Creek properties were being used for illegal marijuana cultivation.

During the investigation, detectives located evidence the six individuals conspired to willfully and knowingly enter an evacuation area, after they had received notice to evacuate and/or leave the area. Detectives also said they located evidence Garcia, Garcia Jr., Peterson, and Gannett willfully and knowingly entered an evacuation zone for the purpose of tending to their illegal marijuana grows.

Additional evidence indicating Peterson was involved in the illegal sales of marijuana was also located by detectives. Based on the evidence located, authorities said they determined Garcia, Garcia Jr. Peterson, and Gannett were also conspiring to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana.

That same evening, all six individuals were booked into the Butte County Jail. All six individuals are scheduled to be arraigned at the Butte County Superior Court on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with additional information about this investigation to contact Detective Vaj Thao or Detective Brian Mollath at 530-538-7671.

While patrolling the evacuation zones on Sept. 14, deputies also arrested two individuals from Forbestown. 33-year-old Christina Lafayette, and 42-year-old Robert Tramonte. 

Deputies said they saw Lafayette walking inside the evacuation zone. Deputies contacted Lafayette and located ammunition and drug paraphernalia in her possession. Lafayette was arrested.

Tramonte was found by deputies riding a bicycle inside the evacuation zone. Deputies contacted Tramonte and said they determined he had a warrant for his arrest. Tramonte was arrested for unlawful entry into an evacuation zone and the aforementioned arrest warrant.

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Several inches of rain along with multiple feet of snow will fall Tuesday through Friday with the biggest winter storm so far this season. A widespread hard freeze will be seen in the valley Monday night.
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