Suspect chased to Oceanside

A burglary suspect led Laguna Beach Police on a high-speed 60-mile chase to San Diego County Tuesday night, Sgt. Bob Rahaeuser said.

The suspect, Nioel Banuelos, 41, of San Gabriel, was apparently smoking methamphetamine during the chase.

A resident on Driftwood Drive called police at 7:36 a.m. to report a burglar in the home, then told police the suspect had gotten into a vehicle and was driving away.

When police arrived, the suspect sped off, then stopped briefly while police exited their vehicle, and then allegedly sped away southbound on South Coast Highway toward Dana Point, Rahaeuser said.


The suspect entered Dana Point Harbor and allegedly tried to evade police by speeding around the parking lots, then entered the 5 Freeway heading south at speeds to 90 mph, with police in pursuit, Rahaeuser said.

Along the way, other law enforcement joined in: Carlsbad police, California Highway Patrol and Orange County Sheriffs Department all gave chase along.

At Oceanside, the suspect pulled off the freeway, then made an abrupt U-turn on the exit ramp, heading back north in the wrong direction, Rahaeuser said.

A highway patrol officer then executed a “pit” maneuver, halting the driver by hitting him with his vehicle to disable it.


The suspect was taken out of his vehicle holding a meth pipe, Rahaeuser alleged.

Banuelos was arrested on suspicion of burglary, evading police and narcotics possession. He was taken back to Laguna Beach, then to Orange County Jail, where he was held on $200,000 bail.

CINDY FRAZIER is city editor of the Coastline Pilot. She can be contacted at (949) 380-4321 or