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Vista bomb makers caught

Importance of plastic Nutella jar.

Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes.
Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes.

“This case started on May 3 when a concerned citizen called in a suspicious device, located in the parking lot of a church that was Vista Christian Fellowship,” prosecutor David Jarman told a judge last week. “The bomb squad responded, found the device, and rendered it safe.” (The church is located on Williamston Street, a half block south of Vista Way.)

San Diego County Sheriff announced on May 4 that there were multiple explosions in Vista earlier that day. Those explosions happened in open areas and parking lots, and two small fires were started.

The explosions on May 4 were in the 900 block of East Vista Way, the 100 block of E. East Drive, and the 400 block of East Drive. Those explosions happened at 11:30 a.m., 1:24 p.m., and 2:41 p.m. “Fortunately, no one was killed or injured,” prosecutor Jarman said.

All the bombs were home-made, “Each device used a time fuse, sulphur, aluminum powder, and flash powder.”

Investigators were able to identify a black car seen leaving the area of one explosion.

Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21, allegedly was the passenger in the fleeing vehicle.

A plainclothes team of law enforcement officers put the black car under surveillance. After midnight, in the early morning minutes of May 7, two suspects were seen approaching the car. A man and woman got in, while the car was parked in front of a home in the 1200 block of North Santa Fe Avenue. A patrol deputy then tried to pull over the car, but it took off; there was a pursuit that reached speeds of 120 m.p.h. and went for two miles, the prosecutor stated in court.

Both occupants of the car were seen throwing bomb parts and bomb-making materials out of the car, according to the prosecutor.

The driver of the car is alleged to be Valentin Castaneda, 25, and the passenger is alleged to be Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21.

When Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, learned that his brother had been arrested, he started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes to hide them inside a different car, parked at the curb in front of his home, the prosecutor alleged.

The Castaneda brothers lived in homes adjacent to each other on the same street in Vista, the prosecutor said.

After the arrests of the two in the black car, a SWAT team assisted in serving search warrants at the different housss where each brother lived, plus their cars.

Investigators found a “bomb making station” in Valentin’s home, the prosecutor said.

In Juan Jose’s home, searchers found a loaded AK47, a pump-action shotgun, a loaded Glock handgun, plus other handguns and ammunition, the prosecutor said, “The weapons and drugs were within arm’s reach of the children,” in an unsecured livingroom closet. Child protective services removed a 14-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl and a 4 month old infant from those homes.

When officers searched the second car, allegedly used by Juan Jose Castaneda, they found a cardboard box containing more firearms, magazines, firearms parts, firearms manufacturing equipment, and part of a grenade. There was a trash bag full of components for making explosives, these included sulphur, part of a pvc pipe, black powder residue, and several shotgun shells and other rounds of live ammunition which had been split open, prosecutor Jarman said.

Investigators found a Sheriff’s deputy uniform and Sheriff’s patches in Juan Jose’s car, the prosecutor told a judge.

In the same car, searchers found a plastic Nutella jar. “This is important because the undetonated explosive device found in the church parking lot on May 3 was housed in an empty Nutella container,” prosecutor David Jarman said.

Juan Jose Castaneda was on probation at the time he was arrested May 7, he had been released after a DUI plea deal on March 4. Juan Jose is described in jail records as 5 feet 3 inches tall and 170 pounds.

Juan Jose bailed out of custody immediately after he was arrested on May 7, he was able to arrange $100,000 bond. Juan Jose appeared in court last week with his attorney, Michael Daniel. This attorney said that Juan Jose was a life-long resident of Vista, and that he works two jobs as a cook, and he was only charged as an accessory-after-the-fact, so Juan Jose should remain at liberty on the $100,000 bond already posted.

However, prosecutor David Jarman argued against the liberty of any of the defendants, and they are now all held on no-bail status.

(There is police bodyworn camera evidence in this case, according to statements made in court.)

Valentin Castaneda, 25, allegedly the driver of the black get-away car, is charged with 16 felonies, including placing a bomb near a church.

Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, is charged with five felonies including possession of substances to create explosive device and hiding and harboring his brother Valentin to evade prosecution.

Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21, allegedly was the passenger in the fleeing vehicle, and is charged with four felonies including three counts of possessing explosive devices on public highways.

Tabler already had three prior arrests in San Diego County, those began in October 2020, when she was accused of possessing meth and heroin.

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Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes.
Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes.

“This case started on May 3 when a concerned citizen called in a suspicious device, located in the parking lot of a church that was Vista Christian Fellowship,” prosecutor David Jarman told a judge last week. “The bomb squad responded, found the device, and rendered it safe.” (The church is located on Williamston Street, a half block south of Vista Way.)

San Diego County Sheriff announced on May 4 that there were multiple explosions in Vista earlier that day. Those explosions happened in open areas and parking lots, and two small fires were started.

The explosions on May 4 were in the 900 block of East Vista Way, the 100 block of E. East Drive, and the 400 block of East Drive. Those explosions happened at 11:30 a.m., 1:24 p.m., and 2:41 p.m. “Fortunately, no one was killed or injured,” prosecutor Jarman said.

All the bombs were home-made, “Each device used a time fuse, sulphur, aluminum powder, and flash powder.”

Investigators were able to identify a black car seen leaving the area of one explosion.

Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21, allegedly was the passenger in the fleeing vehicle.

A plainclothes team of law enforcement officers put the black car under surveillance. After midnight, in the early morning minutes of May 7, two suspects were seen approaching the car. A man and woman got in, while the car was parked in front of a home in the 1200 block of North Santa Fe Avenue. A patrol deputy then tried to pull over the car, but it took off; there was a pursuit that reached speeds of 120 m.p.h. and went for two miles, the prosecutor stated in court.

Both occupants of the car were seen throwing bomb parts and bomb-making materials out of the car, according to the prosecutor.

The driver of the car is alleged to be Valentin Castaneda, 25, and the passenger is alleged to be Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21.

When Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, the younger brother of Valentin, learned that his brother had been arrested, he started taking bomb-making materials out of their homes to hide them inside a different car, parked at the curb in front of his home, the prosecutor alleged.

The Castaneda brothers lived in homes adjacent to each other on the same street in Vista, the prosecutor said.

After the arrests of the two in the black car, a SWAT team assisted in serving search warrants at the different housss where each brother lived, plus their cars.

Investigators found a “bomb making station” in Valentin’s home, the prosecutor said.

In Juan Jose’s home, searchers found a loaded AK47, a pump-action shotgun, a loaded Glock handgun, plus other handguns and ammunition, the prosecutor said, “The weapons and drugs were within arm’s reach of the children,” in an unsecured livingroom closet. Child protective services removed a 14-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl and a 4 month old infant from those homes.

When officers searched the second car, allegedly used by Juan Jose Castaneda, they found a cardboard box containing more firearms, magazines, firearms parts, firearms manufacturing equipment, and part of a grenade. There was a trash bag full of components for making explosives, these included sulphur, part of a pvc pipe, black powder residue, and several shotgun shells and other rounds of live ammunition which had been split open, prosecutor Jarman said.

Investigators found a Sheriff’s deputy uniform and Sheriff’s patches in Juan Jose’s car, the prosecutor told a judge.

In the same car, searchers found a plastic Nutella jar. “This is important because the undetonated explosive device found in the church parking lot on May 3 was housed in an empty Nutella container,” prosecutor David Jarman said.

Juan Jose Castaneda was on probation at the time he was arrested May 7, he had been released after a DUI plea deal on March 4. Juan Jose is described in jail records as 5 feet 3 inches tall and 170 pounds.

Juan Jose bailed out of custody immediately after he was arrested on May 7, he was able to arrange $100,000 bond. Juan Jose appeared in court last week with his attorney, Michael Daniel. This attorney said that Juan Jose was a life-long resident of Vista, and that he works two jobs as a cook, and he was only charged as an accessory-after-the-fact, so Juan Jose should remain at liberty on the $100,000 bond already posted.

However, prosecutor David Jarman argued against the liberty of any of the defendants, and they are now all held on no-bail status.

(There is police bodyworn camera evidence in this case, according to statements made in court.)

Valentin Castaneda, 25, allegedly the driver of the black get-away car, is charged with 16 felonies, including placing a bomb near a church.

Juan Jose Castaneda, 23, is charged with five felonies including possession of substances to create explosive device and hiding and harboring his brother Valentin to evade prosecution.

Caleigh Elizabeth Tabler, 21, allegedly was the passenger in the fleeing vehicle, and is charged with four felonies including three counts of possessing explosive devices on public highways.

Tabler already had three prior arrests in San Diego County, those began in October 2020, when she was accused of possessing meth and heroin.

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Comments
2

Honorable judge Laura Duffy ordered the face of the defendants to be obscured in photos.

May 23, 2022

Their faces should be shown. They're shown in court. Too bad they didn't blow themselves up. Good riddance.

May 23, 2022

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