Crime & Courts

3 California brothers arrested in Rowan County

A two-month investigation led to Wednesday’s arrest of three brothers from California on a variety of charges, authorities say.

Investigators said one of the brothers was wanted in Iredell County on charges including kidnapping and assault by pointing a gun. The suspects were identified as Foryst George Souza, 24; Kanyon Blayze Souza, 20; and Gusty Shayde Souza, 19. All three are from Oakdale, Calif., authorities said.

The investigation started in mid-July, when Rowan County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in the 2700 block of Poole Road near Salisbury. The landlord complained about damage to the residence, and records showed that the house had been rented in September 2013 to a person using the name of Taylor Scheidel, with a California driver’s license.

Investigators found damage but said they also noticed evidence of a marijuana-growing operation in an upstairs bedroom. The operation had been disassembled and moved, deputies said.

On Aug. 20, State Bureau of Investigation agents and Rowan County detectives conducted several searches throughout the county, and authorities said they found evidence of previous and current marijuana operations. Investigators said evidence connected those operations to a person named Taylor Scheidel.

On Aug. 31, Sept. 2 and 3, the Mooresville police and Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said they investigated cases involving kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun, assault on a female and injury to personal property. Authorities identified the three Souza brothers as suspects.

About the same time, Rowan County authorities said, they determined that Foryst Souza had used the name Taylor Scheidel in renting the house on Poole Road. Investigators said they also learned that Foryst Souza had an extensive criminal record in California.

On Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies in Rowan County said they learned the three brothers were staying at a house on Poole Road. Investigators went there and arrested Gusty and Kanyon Souza, they said. Another man identified himself as Travis Anderson Adams was found hiding under a bed. Gusty and Kanyon Souza said they didn’t know who the man was, adding that someone had dropped him off at the house.

But authorities said they determined that the third man was Foryst Souza.

The three were arrested on a number of charges in Rowan and Iredell counties. Foryst Souza faces 15 charges, including 12 related to kidnapping, gun-pointing and assault, authorities said. The investigation is continuing, according to Rowan County authorities.