[Santa Barbara County] Santa Barbara jail investigation continues after drug emergency

20 need medical care

Blog note: this article references a grand jury report.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The investigation continues into drug smuggling in the Santa Barbara County main jail.

There were 20 medical emergencies Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff Bill Brown and his staff are reviewing procedures and video surveillance.

"A lot of times we see narcotics brought in by newer inmates who smuggle it in maybe knowing they are about to be incarcerated they will somehow secrete it on their person and get it into the facility and pass it  around," said Lieutenant Erik Raney.

The incident last week was puzzling due to the range of issues involving both prisoners and custody deputies suffering a range of impacts.

Multiple Santa Barbara County and AMR ambulance units were called to the back of the jail facility.

Raney says tar heroin appears to be involved along with the synthetic opiod pain reliever fentanyl.

Drug smuggling enforcement in the jail is an issue that is a priority, especially after a critical Grand Jury report.

The prisoners have returned to the area where the drugs were found. "The entire tank was cleaned and decontaminated and the inmates were brought back into that housing unit," said Raney.

When the new Santa Maria jail is completed, "Our screening process for both inmates and mail is obviously going to be heightened in light of this, and we are constantly evaluating industry-wide standards," said Raney.

September 1, 2019


By John Palminteri