Illegal street racing suspects are local men

Signal File Photo.


As investigators continue to prepare paperwork on more than 100 people arrested for their alleged part in an illegal street racing event last week, details are emerging about seven of the men suspected of taking an active part in the event.

On the night of June 29, Sana Clarita Valley Sheriff Station deputies and California Highway Patrol officers arrested at least 109 people at an illegal street racing event in the Valencia Commerce Center in Castaic.

A total of 102 people were cited for simply watching drivers race and engage in stunts such as “burnouts” “donuts” and “drifting,”  California Highway Patrol Captain Edward Krusey told The Signal a week ago.

The 102 suspects were cited for allegedly watching the event – commonly referred to as Sideshow – and were released at the scene.

Seven additional people, all local men, were physically booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, accused of taking part in the event, their vehicles towed, Krusey said a week ago.

On Thursday, one week after the mass arrests were made, speed racing investigators were still processing arrest documents for the accused.

“All people involved were cited on scene,” CHP Officer Josh Greengard told The Signal Thursday.

“But the paperwork is getting finalized at our office,” he said. “Even though they were cited, a report still need to be written on all of them (109), which will take a few more day to complete.”

All of the crimes alleged in last week’s crackdown were misdemeanors.

Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said of the seven accused men Thursday: “No cases (have been) filed on any of these.”

The joint forces effort – dubbed the Illegal Street Racing Operation – was carried out by local sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers as part of a countywide crackdown on illegal street racing, Krusey said.

Joint forces participants, acting on intelligence gathered, carried out their operation at the industrial park in Castaic, a location bustling with people during the day but left to become a “ghost town” at night.

Arrest papers filed on the seven alleged participants show each of the accused is a man who lives in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Suspects include:

– 34-year-old construction worker Gabriel Elias Felicano of Canyon Country, arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with a prior conviction.

– Jason Leyva, 19, who lives in Canyon Country and works as a landscaper, accused of participating in an illegal speed contest

– 21-year-old student Redwin Padua, who lives in Castaic, arrested on suspicion of participating in an illegal speed contest

– Xavier Cameron Chalmers, 20, of Canyon Country, who works as a shift manager, accused of aiding, abetting and engaging in a speed contest

– Brian Atwater, a 20-year-old server who lives in Palmdale, arrested on suspicion of participating in an illegal speed contest

– Juan Carlos Leiva, 23, a self-employed Saugus resident, arrested on suspicion of participating in an illegal speed contest

– Johannes Michael Hansel, of Canyon Country, who works in the food service industry and just turned 19 three days prior to his arrest, arrested on suspicion of reckless driving.

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