Out of jail on bail on other charges, embattled San Jacinto councilmember arrested again – Bail now set at $5 million

SAN JACINTO, Calif., — Out of jail on bail and awaiting trial on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from his alleged involvement in the operation of an illegal cannabis dispensary in San Jacinto, embattled City of San Jacinto City Councilmember Joel De Anda Lopez was arrested again Thursday after deputies investigated a “series” of domestic violence related allegations against him.

Officials say Lopez told his bail agent that he intended to cut off his ankle monitor and flee the country and when he was found and arrested deputies discovered he was in possession of his passport and other items indicating he likely intended to follow through with his threat to flee the country.

Originally given a bail of $100,000, Lopez’ bail has since been increased to $5 million due to his high likelihood of fleeing or committing other crimes.


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Deputies assigned to the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station began a new investigation into Lopez around 3:30 p.m., Thursday Aug. 5, after a San Jacinto victim reported a series of domestic violence incidents involving the councilmember, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Wade Lenton has since reported.

One of the reported incidents occurred in the city of Los Angeles on Saturday July, 31, and another occurred in the city of San Jacinto on August 5, the day the incidents were reported, according to the Sergeant.

Still seated San Jacinto City Councilmember Joel Lopez is pictured in a series of photos from his work as a councilmember (L), from his first arrest last June (C), and from his most recent arrest on Thursday. Contacted today and asked if Lopez was going to be allowed to continue representing San Jacinto, a representative who declined to be identified said the city had no immediate comment on Lopez’s arrest or status as a City councilmember.

During the investigation deputies learned Lopez, who was originally arrested June 10 on charges of conspiracy to commit misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance for sale, maintaining a place for the purpose of unlawfully selling or giving away a controlled substance, operating without a seller’s permit by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, failure to file a sales and use tax return, was out of jail after posting $100,000 bail.

All of Lopez’s original charges stemmed from his alleged operation of an unlicensed and illegal dispensary, which went alternately by the names “Santa Fe Co-Op,” “Santa Fe Collective”, or simply “Santa Fe”, and operated out of a location at 1190 S. San Jacinto Avenue.

Although deputies began searching for Lopez they were not immediately able to locate him.

As their investigation was getting underway deputies learned that as a condition of his bail, Lopez was fitted with an ankle monitor.

“However, as the investigation progressed, deputies learned Mr. Lopez had made statements to his bail agent that he intended to cut of the ankle monitor and flee the country,” explained Lenton.


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Based on the newly obtained information and Lopez being an immediate flight risk, deputies enlisted the assistance of the Post-Release Accountability and Compliance Team (PACT), who began tracking the councilmember’s movements. 

“At 4:16 p.m., Mr. Lopez was located near the Soboba Casino and taken into custody without further incident,” said Lenton; adding that arresting officers located Mr. Lopez’ U.S. Passport in his vehicle.

After his arrest, Lopez was booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting corporal injuries on a spouse or co-habitant, and making terrorist threats.

Due to his claims of intending to cut off his ankle monitor and flee the country officials sought and were granted a bail enhancement, increasing his bail from $100,000 to $5 million. Additionally, if Lopez seeks to bail out of jail again he will be required to provide a declaration regarding the source of his bail money.

The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing and officials have declined to release any further details.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call the San Jacinto Sheriff Station by calling (951) 654-2702. Callers can refer to incident file number I212170077 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.