Authorities arrested three men during a drug bust at a Santa Rosa motel Tuesday, and temporarily were led on a chase after a suspect fled and hid in a nearby garage until a police dog forced him out.
Mario Morganti, 37,of Healdsburg, had been under surveillance by multiple law enforcement agencies for suspected narcotics trafficking when detectives tailed him from Petaluma to the Gold Coin Motel on Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa police said. Detectives watched him carry out several drug sales at the motel before detaining him, police said.
They found a firearm and several ounces of methamphetamine on him, police said. A second suspect was arrested while he was attempting to run back into his motel room, police said. Justin Iba, 33, of Santa Rosa was booked into Sonoma County Jail for suspicion of violating probation and possessing meth, police said.
A small amount of meth was discovered in his room, police said.
A third suspect, Jesus Ramos-Rivas, 21, of Healdsburg bolted into a motel room and jumped out of the bathroom window as he fled into a nearby neighborhood, police said. Officers started receiving reports of a man who matched his description trying to get into homes on Lomitas Avenue at Chanate Road.
With the help of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Santa Rosa Police K-9 units narrowed their search to a nearby garage. Police said Ramos-Rivas was attempting to hide in a storage container and refused to come out, so they released a police dog which bit the man in the upper left thigh. He then complied with officers’ commands, authorities said.
Ramos-Rivas was treated at a nearby hospital and then booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of burglary, trespassing, probation violation and resisting arrest.
Morganti also was booked into Sonoma County Jail and faces charges including suspicion of possessing of meth for sale and committing a felony while carrying a firearm. Authorities returned to Petaluma where he’d been staying at a Motel 6. Police said they found one pound of meth, packaging and other evidence of drug sales.
In addition to Santa Rosa police and sheriff’s detectives, the case involved the Petaluma Police Department, Santa Rosa Junior College Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Santa Rosa Police Department at 707-543-3600.
You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 707-521-5458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @eloisanews.