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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Friday April 21st, 2023 :: 05:44 p.m. PDT


Ghost Guns Recovered During Probation Search

Nature of Incident: Ghost Guns Recovered During Probation Search
Report Number: 23-49838
Location: 300 block of Barry Drive, Ventura
Date & Time: 4/20/2023 @ 6:20 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: West County Special Enforcement Unit, Narcotics Street Team, Headquarters Investigations, and P.T.D.F. Classification Unit
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(S) Merrill, Ricky
(S) Aguilera, Juan
On April 20, 2023, Ventura County Sheriff's Office detectives conducted a probation search and arrest warrant service in Ventura, which resulted in the recovery of multiple illegal "Ghost Gun" firearms.
On April 20, 2023, at approximately 6:20 PM, West County Special Enforcement Unit (WC-SEU), Narcotics Street Team (NST), and Headquarters Station Investigations Unit detectives conducted a probation search and arrest warrant service of Ricky Merrill at a residence in the 300 block of Barry Drive in Ventura. Merrill was on Ventura County probation with search terms for a theft offense and had multiple outstanding local misdemeanor warrants. Detectives arrested Merrill for his warrants without incident. Detectives also arrested Juan Aguilera for misdemeanor narcotics violations.
Detectives subsequently conducted a probation search of Merrill's residence. Detectives located several illegal weapons, including an AR-15 ghost gun, a 9mm semi-automatic ghost gun, an unregistered .22 rifle, and a collapsible baton. Detectives also located firearm ammunition and firearm manufacturing evidence. Merrill was arrested for felony firearms and weapons violations.
Merrill and Aguilera were booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility. Merrill remains in custody on $55,000 bail and is scheduled for court on 4/24/2023. Aguilera was released from custody with a future court date. 
The West County Special Enforcement Unit is comprised of eight detectives, who focus on protecting West County communities by actively investigating illegal firearm activities. The Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase of unlawful firearm activities in Ventura County, including illegal “Ghost Guns”. A “Ghost Gun” is a common term used to describe any firearm manufactured without a serial number engraved or otherwise adorned on its frame/receiver, which is unregistered with the California Department of Justice. If you have any information about illegal weapons in the West County areas in the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, please contact Detective Matt Smith at 805-797-2891.    
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank members of the public for their on-going support and due diligence in providing information to assist our agency in solving crimes. We are better at what we do because of our community partnerships.
Join us in the fight on crime by following us on Twitter @VENTURASHERIFF, Facebook, Instagram @ VCSHERIFF, and with Nixle by texting your zip code to 888777 to receive local law enforcement and public safety alerts and advisories.    
Prepared by: Detective Sergeant Beau Rodriguez  
News Release Date: 4/21/2023  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Dylan Davis
[email protected]
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Ron Chips
 YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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