Court documents detail Jose Bello’s drug-related arrest before he was identified as gunman in Tulare homicide

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jose Omar Bello Reyes was arrested on multiple drug and firearm charges in September prior to being named the gunman in the killing of Douglas Cline, 58, from Washington in Tulare County, according to court documents.

Jose Bello, 24, was driving a 2005 silver Toyota Highlander without a front license plate and failed to stop at a stop sign on Sept. 1, 2021. Bakersfield Police officers attempted to pull over the Highlander on K Street near 4th Street, according to court records. The driver, Jose Bello, parked the car and walked away quickly into the east alley towards Chester Avenue while looking back at officers. Bello was taken into custody without incident.

BPD looked up Bello’s record that showed his driver’s license was suspended, according to court documents. When contacted by officers, Bello told them he left the vehicle because he did not have a driver’s license and was scared.

Court documents say a search of Bello’s vehicle revealed a loaded unregistered firearm, live ammunition, large amounts of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, cannabis-infused edibles, multiple scales and a methamphetamine smoking pipe.

In total, there were 1,735.9 grams of marijuana (not including edibles and marijuana cigarettes), 15.3 grams of heroin, 46.2 grams of cocaine and 22 grams of methamphetamine located, according to BPD.

The reports say the following:

Officers found an unregistered semi-automatic gun and live ammunition in the front passenger side of the Toyota. They also found a black duffle bag containing large amounts of marijuana and live ammunition.

A black backpack found contained live ammunition, a methamphetamine smoking pipe, three packages of cannabis-infused edibles, three scales, a box of empty plastic bags and two black boxes.

One black box contained a large bag of methamphetamine, two large bags of cocaine and one large bag of heroin. The other black box held a small amount of marijuana in a plastic bag and three marijuana cigarettes. Marijuana was also located in the center console and center console under the radio.

All items were seized and taken in as evidence. The Toyota Highlander was towed and seized for 30 days.

When officers searched Bello, they found a large amount of cash in small denominations in his front pants pocket and his wallet contained more than $1,400 in cash.


Bello told officers he got the firearm from a man in Delano and was also holding the marijuana and other drugs for him, according to the reports. He also said he uses marijuana but does not sell it. Bello told officers he takes the other drugs “where he is told to and provides it to individuals” and they then “provide him with money for the drugs but he does not receive the profits.”

The Bakersfield Police Department concluded Bello was involved in street sales of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, according to court filings. They also believe the scales found were used to weigh the drugs for individual sales and plastic bags used for distribution.

Jose Bello was cooperative during the investigation and did not appear to be under the influence when arrested, which furthered BPD’s theory that “he was involved in sales and not a typical user,” according to the court documents.

Bello was booked into the Kern County Jail for possession of narcotics for sale, transporting a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sale, carrying a loaded firearm in public, carrying a loaded firearm and being an unregistered owner, possession of a controlled substance while armed, driving on a suspended license, failure to obey a stop sign, no front license plate and possession of paraphernalia.

Bello, a former student activist at Bakersfield College, received national attention after he was arrested by ICE just 36-hours after reading a poem before the Kern County Board of Supervisors criticizing ICE in 2019. His case gained national attention as many people believed ICE targeted Bello because of the poem.

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