SWAT team, tear gas deployed to nab Santa Maria felon

It took both a SWAT team and tear gas for Santa Barbara County law enforcement to arrest a wanted felon, as well as a woman hiding with him, at a Santa Maria home on Thursday. Additionally, the operation resulted in the lockdown of an elementary school and the evacuation of neighboring homes.

About 12:30 p.m., Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies, Santa Maria Police and CHP officers teamed up to conduct a probation search at a home in the 1900 block of Estriga Court. Authorities were searching for Saam Massoudi, a post-release community supervision offender, who had an outstanding warrant for violating the terms of his release. Massoudi, 34, was on post-release supervision for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

When officers knocked on the front door of the home and identified themselves, they heard several people inside the residence moving around and talking. After demanding entry several times, officers forced open the door.

Two females then walked out of the home and were detained. Meanwhile, officers determined Massoudi was inside the attic and that at least one other suspect remained in the home. Officers continued to yell for the suspects to surrender, but they did not.

Officials then deployed the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team (SET) and placed Liberty Elementary School on lockdown as a precautionary measure while officers set up a perimeter around the house. Authorities also evacuated nearby homes.

After a couple of hours, officers decided to deploy tear gas. Shortly later, Massoudi and 36-year-old Callie Jones exited the home.

Officers arrested both of them without further incident. Massoudi and Jones received medical treatment prior to being booked into jail.

Authorities charged Massoudi with violating his post-release supervision and resisting and delaying a peace officer. Jones was charged with delaying a peace officer and having two outstanding narcotics related warrants.

Additionally, officers arrested 41-year-old Mae Urban, the owner of the home, for resisting arrest, delaying a peace officer and harboring a fugitive.