Father of 7 accused of drug operation

CHULA VISTA - A South Bay man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to running a major drug operation out of his home.

Tobias Michel—who lives in Chula Vista with his wife and seven children—pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts, including child cruelty. He was arrested last Friday after police found drug paraphernalia and heroin in his garage.

Police also found a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun.

Investigators suspect Michel was running a major drug trafficking operation.

"Detectives estimate that's anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 of narcotics," said Chula Vista Lt. Fritz Reber. "Certainly, that indicates the person is involved in trafficking or dealing those narcotics."

Police do not believe the wife was aware of the operation but Child Protective Services is also investigating the incident.

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