by Cindy Summers
Police reports are provided to us by the Ventura Police Department and are not the opinions of the Ventura Breeze. All suspects mentioned are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Stolen Property and Narcotics Arrest
On November 20 at 10am, SCU detectives conducted a search warrant at the above address as a result of a month-long investigation into multiple thefts and narcotics sales. Detectives using investigative tools were able to identify a primary suspect as 37 year old Ventura resident Steven Cossel.
During the search warrant service, SCU detectives located and detained Steven Cossel, 27 year old Ventura resident Danielle Lee, and 29 year old Ventura resident Whitney Byrd inside the apartment. While taking Cossel into custody for an active warrant, investigators located stolen property, narcotics, and narcotics paraphernalia.
Investigators identified the stolen property in Cossel’s apartment as being taken from multiple victims in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
Steven Cossel was arrested and booked at the Ventura County Jail for possession of stolen property and possession of narcotics.
Whitney Byrd was arrested and booked at Ventura County Jail for possession of narcotics and an unrelated warrant for a violation of probation.
Danielle Lee was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and cited and released from the Ventura Police Department.
A search of the Ventura County Superior Court shows that Steven Cossel, Danielle Lee, and Whitney Byrd all have prior arrests and convictions for multiple property and drug-related crimes.
Arrests for Human Sex Trafficking of a Minor and Pimping of a Minor
On November 21, at approximately 11pm, a minor female walked into the lobby of the Comfort Inn on Harbor Blvd and told the front desk manager she was being held against her will by a male and female and that they had sexually assaulted her. The manager immediately contacted the Ventura Police Department Dispatch and Ventura Police Department Patrol officers responded.
Patrol officers located the female suspect, 25 year old San Bernardino resident Davisha Sweat, in the parking lot and detained her. It was discovered that the male suspect, San Bernardino resident Elijah Tucker, was still in the hotel room. As officers responded to the hotel room, the VPD Special Victims Unit responded to assist with the investigation.
After a brief standoff, Tucker surrendered to officers on scene. The victim stated she had been sexually assaulted by both subjects and forced into prostitution. According to the victim, she was forced against her will to stay with both subjects and was Human Trafficked from San Bernardino County. During the service of search warrants, evidence was found corroborating that Sweat and Tucker prostituted the victim.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Elijah Tucker was booked at the Ventura County Jail for Human Trafficking of a Minor; Pimping of a Minor; and Forcible Sexual Assault While Acting in Concert. Davisha Sweat was booked for Pimping of a Minor; Human Trafficking of a Minor; and Forcible Sexual Assault While Acting in Concert.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex
Wanted Subject, Resisting Arrest
On November 25, at approximately 4pm, a Ventura Police motor officer was patrolling in the area of Ventura Ave. and Prospect St., when he stopped a vehicle for a moving violation. When the vehicle stopped the driver of the vehicle, later identified as 28 year old Oxnard resident Gregory Smith, exited the vehicle and fled on foot leaving a female passenger inside. Information found in the vehicle identified Smith as the owner and a records check confirmed he was a wanted felon.
A Ventura Police K-9 officer responded and assisted other officers with searching the area. The K-9, Miles, lead officers into the yard of a nearby residence. Smith was located hiding in the yard and was taken into custody without incident.
He was arrested for a felony warrant, resisting arrest and for being a post release offender. The female passenger was released from the scene.
A review of the Ventura County Superior Court website shows that Smith has prior convictions for petty theft, identity theft, and for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Stolen Vehicle Pursuit and Arrest
On November 29, at 6:45pm, officers responded to a call of a stolen vehicle. Once on scene, the victim informed the officers that she had parked her SUV in the driveway of her home around 6:45pm when she came out of her house around 8:00 p.m. she noticed that the SUV was gone. The officers completed a stolen vehicle investigation, and a report was filed.
At approximately 10p.m. a Ventura Police Sergeant saw the SUV driving westbound on the 126 Freeway passing Victoria Av. traveling at over 100 MPH. He began following the SUV as it continued on the 126 freeway to northbound 101 Freeway, and eventually exiting at Seaward Av. As the SUV exited the freeway, other VPD units arrived to assist, and a pursuit of the vehicle was started.
During the incident, the 16 year old juvenile driver drove erratically and made multiple vehicle code violations. Eventually, the driver drove south on Norwich Ln, which deadends at the beach. Having nowhere to go, the driver exited the SUV and ran onto the beach. The SUV came to a stop when it ran into a brick wall at the end of the lane. Two other male passengers also exited the SUV and ran in the opposite direction of the driver and were not chased.
After running from the vehicle and onto the beach, the driver went back into the neighborhood to try and get away from officers. After an extensive search, he was found in a backyard on Marthas Vinyard by a Ventura Police K9 “Jag” and taken into custody. During the incident, the juvenile suffered a minor injury to his hand and was treated at a local hospital. He was arrested for felony possession of a stolen vehicle and evading.