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Four Pier Vendors Arrested for Felony Assault, Sexual Battery


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By Jorge Casuso

July 8, 2024 -- Four Pier vendors were arrested last month in a fight that broke out after one of them sexually battered several women on the beach, according to police.

Santa Monica police officers responded to a 911 call on Saturday, June 29 at 2:21 p.m. reporting "multiple male subjects fighting north of the Pier near Tower 14," police said.

"It was reported that one of the people involved in the fight was stabbed," said Erika Aklufi, the Police Department spokesperson.
Efigenio Tacuba
Efigenio Tacuba ( SMPD)

"The SMPD drone was first on-scene and confirmed an active fight," Aklufi said. "Additional responding officers arrived shortly after and intervened."

According to Aklufi, the fight started when a vendor -- identified as Efigenio Tacuba, 30, -- "approached a group of beachgoers and sexually battered several females.

"Others in the group confronted Tacuba who then requested assistance from fellow vendors," she said.

"Several vendors armed themselves with umbrella poles, belts, and at least one knife," Aklufi said.

Responding officers found a victim suffering from a non-life-threatening stab wound, police said. Another victim suffered a possible broken ankle. Both were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

The four men arrested were charged by the LA County District Attorney with two counts each of felony assault with a deadly weapon, and Tacuba was also charged with three counts of sexual battery.

According to the California penal code, "Any person who touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained" is guilty of sexual battery "if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse."

Jorge Luis Cruz Murcia Samuel Manzanarez Hernandez Samuel Manzanarez Hernandez

The other three vendors charged with felony assault are (above from left) Jorge Luis Cruz Murcia, 29; Samuel Manzanarez Hernandez, 39, and Oscar Samuel Hernandez, 47.

Police expect to make additional arrests, Aklufi said.

In the past, City officials have used words like "chaos," "melee" and "out of control" to describe the renegade vendors who have overrun the Santa Monica Pier on weekends ("Council Revisits 'Out-Of-Control' Illegal Pier Vendors," December 10, 2021.

In December 2021, a frustrated Council voted unanimously to direct staff to take steps to, according to then Mayor Sue Himmelrich, "prevent this melee that happens every weekend on the pier."

"I think a bunch of us have been down and witnessed the chaos that ensued, and I think we understand that this has created an emergency for us," Himmelrich said. "We need it to stop."

"It's about community values and putting our foot down when enough is enough," said Councilmember Negrete said. "And now is that time."

The violent acts abated after the Council voted to beef up private security, then extended the security contract in April to help code enforcement "reduce the volume of unpermitted vending or other unlawful activity on the Pier" ("Santa Monica to Keep Private Security Force at Pier," April 20, 2022).

Last month's brawl took place less than one week after a homeless sex offender on parole was arrested for attacking three women near Lifeguard Tower 13 ("Sex Offender Charged with 2 Attempted Murders in Beach Attacks," June 26, 2024).

Jawann Dwayne Garnett, 31, who "has a significant criminal history," was charged by the District Attorney with two counts of attempted murder, felony child abuse, kidnapping, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and assault with intent to commit rape.

Anyone with information related to last month's fight, "particularly cell phone video footage of the incident," should email Detective Holloway at or the Watch Commander 24 hours at 310-458-8427.

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