Lake Elsinore pursuit leads to stolen handgun, drugs – 1 arrested

LAKE ELSINORE — A parolee and known gang member with a felony warrant was arrested after leading sheriff’s officials on a vehicle and foot pursuit in Lake Elsinore, Thursday evening, Jan. 9.

The pursuit that led to the arrest and recovery of a stolen handgun and seizure of ammunition and illegal narcotics covered approximately six miles, before the alleged suspect was apprehended with help from a Sheriff’s K-9 and Aviation Unit members in a helicopter.


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Deputies from the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station first spotted the suspect’s white sedan parked near the intersection of Rostrata St. and Tereticornis Ave. around 9:50 p.m., Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Sarah Mack reported after the pursuit and arrest.

“The vehicle entered the roadway and driver displayed erratic driving actions consistent with driving under the influence,” Mack explained.

Deputies arrested Dennis Morales after they say the wanted parolee led them on a pursuit through Lake Elsinore Thursday evening. RSO images

Based on their observations, deputies initiated a traffic stop but the driver, later identified as Dennis Morales, 30, of Lake Elsinore, failed to stop the vehicle and sped away from officials, who initiated a vehicle pursuit.

The chase continued several miles through residential streets before ending near Mandaville Way and Grand Ave., where Morales fled on foot into a neighborhood.

“With the assistance of the Sheriff’s K-9 Team and the Aviation Unit, the suspect was taken into custody,” said Mack; who explained that investigating deputies later discovered a stolen handgun, ammunition, as well as heroin and methamphetamine in Morales’ vehicle.

Morales was subsequently booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center on suspicion of driving under the Influence, recklessly evading officers, possession of narcotics, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and violation of parole.

Jail records indicate Morales remains in custody without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Murrieta’s Southwest Justice Center, Jan 14.

Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Deputy Kramer at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station at (951) 245-3300. Callers can refer to incident file number F200090038 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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RVC News photos above

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Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.


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