VISTA, Calif. – Two men and a woman were arrested early Saturday after a brief pursuit with sheriff’s deputies and now face charges stemming from a series of North County explosions this week, authorities said.
Sheriff’s detectives were on the hunt for those behind the mysterious explosions from the Vista area, drawing local attention as they appeared to come with no obvious motives or targets. Their arrest happened after midnight Saturday when detectives spotted a vehicle, captured on surveillance footage from one of the blast sites, in the 1200 block of North Santa Fe Avenue, sheriff’s Lt. David Buether said.
When deputies tried to pull the car over, its driver didn’t stop and led them on a two-mile chase, during which the vehicle’s passengers reportedly tossed “explosive devices” from the car’s window, Buether said. Two of them later were recovered and deemed safe by the agency.
The vehicle stopped in the 1800 block of Queens Way, to the north of the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, in unincorporated Vista.
Investigators executed a search warrant on the car and a home in the 1200 block of North Santa Fe Avenue. In those searches, authorities found more explosive devices, bomb-making materials and a preparation station, according to Buether. Several firearms and ammunition also were seized.
Three children — a 14-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl and an infant — were in the house where investigators searched. They’ve since been taken into the care of relatives, Buether said.
The three arrests from the case include:
- Valentin Castaneda, age 25: He faces the steepest charges in the case, including possessing a destructive device near a church, possessing material with intent to make explosives, exploding a device with intent to terrify, felony evading and child endangerment;
- Juan Jose Castaneda Santiago, age 22, and Caleigh Tabler, age 21: Both face the same charges of being an accessory after the fact and child endangerment.
Castaneda, Santiago and Tabler each will be booked into the Vista Detention Center, detectives said.
In all the involved explosions, no injuries were reported and no property was damaged as a result. The case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s bomb/arson unit.