Isla Vista Traffic Stop Leads to Arrest of 2 Armed Robbery Suspects and Discovery of Firearm, Drugs: Sheriff

Elijah Francis, 20, and Deviosa Harper,18, appear in undated photos provided by the the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office on April 9, 2019.

Elijah Francis, 20, and Deviosa Harper,18, appear in undated photos provided by the the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office on April 9, 2019.

Two men were arrested after officers stopped their vehicle in Isla Vista after noticing that the lights were off, then recognized the vehicle from an armed robbery the night before and found them in possession of drugs and a firearm, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office said in a Tuesday news release.

The chance encounter happened at around 11 p.m. Sunday when a U.C. Santa Barbara Police Department Police Officer stopped the vehicle on the 6700 block of Sabado Tarde Road, according to the news release.

Authorities said the driver did not have any identification and there was a “strong odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle.”

A sheriff’s sergeant and a deputy arrived at the scene and recognized the vehicle from a robbery in Santa Barbara City “where a firearm was used,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies then searched the vehicle and found a brick of cocaine, approximately five pounds of marijuana, Xanax pills and a firearm, authorities said.

While officers were at the scene of the traffic stop, two people approached them and reported that they had just been robbed. One of them said he had been pistol whipped on the head, and his eye was bleeding, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators then discovered that the same two men they had just stopped were also suspects in the robbery the two victims reported, according to the news release.

Authorities did not provide information on the two robberies in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. It is unclear if there were any other injuries reported.

The driver, 20-year-old Elijah Francis of Santa Cruz and his passenger, 18-year-old Devosia Harper of Stockton were both taken into custody, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Francis and Harper said they were in town for “Deltopia,” which authorities described as “an unsanctioned spring break party” in Isla Vista, according to the news release.

The Santa Barbara Police Department responded and arrested the two on charges including robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy, possession of a loaded firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Harper was also booked on assault with a deadly weapon charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Harper’s bail was set at $550,000, according to public arrest records. No booking information was available for Francis.

No further information was immediately available.

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