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Police Make Arson, Narcotics Arrests

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By Lookout Staff

November 30, 2021 -- Santa Monica police made two arrests Sunday, one of a homeless man who may be responsible for a series of arson fires in the Downtown area, the other of a suspect in possession of weapons and narcotics.

The narcotics arrest took place after officers responding to a call reporting a suspicious black jeep on the 900 block of Ocean Avenue witnessed the vehicle commit several traffic violations, police said.

Ken Lee Fernandez
Short barrel AR type rifle
Suspect Ken Lee Fernandez and short barrel AR type rifle (Photos courtesy SMPD)

"When the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed and crashed striking several parked vehicles and a tree in the 1000 block of 2nd Street," said Lt. Rudy Flores, the Police Department spokesman.

The two occupants fled on foot, and officers located the driver a short time later, Flores said.

A search of the vehicle turned up "a loaded short barrel AR type rifle, a loaded 9mm handgun and a large amount of narcotics," Flores said..

The driver, identified as Ken Lee Fernandez, a 22-year-old male of Buena Park, was booked on weapons and narcotics charges and with delaying and obstructing arrest.

Suspect vehicle
Suspect vehicle

The passenger who fled is described as a 20 to 25-year-old Black male, 5’10” to 6’2” tall, with a "thin build and dark complexion," Flores said. He was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt and black sweatpants.

The arson arrest took place in the early morning hours after officers were called to investigate a series of dumpster and trashcan arson fires in the Downtown area, Flores said.

Jonathan Powell

A witness provided the officers with a description of the suspect believed to be involved, he said.

When an officer located him at around 3:45 am, the suspect ran but was subsequently detained in the 400 block of Arizona Avenue.

The suspect, Jonathan Powell, a 28-year-old homeless male, "was positively identified as the suspect in one of the arsons," Flores said.

He is believed to be responsible for at least five other arson fires, Flores said, adding that "during a search of Powell’s person, officers located several lighters in his front pants pocket."

Powell was booked for arson and delaying arrest, Flores said

Anyone with any information concerning the narcotics and weapons arrest should call Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Detective Khansari at 310-458-4248, Detective McGowan at 310-458-4698 or the Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8426.

Anyone with information about the arson arrest or any other similar incidents should call the Criminal Investigation Division at 310-458-8451 or the Watch Commander.

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