PASO ROBLES – On August 2 San Luis County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Deputy made a traffic stop on Highway 46 East in the area of Whitley Gardens for speeding and expired registration violations. The occupants of the vehicle were 30-year-old Prisciliano Cruz Garcia and 27-year-old Laura Nallely Ramirez Chavez, both of Paso Robles.
During the traffic stop, an open-air sniff around the vehicle was conducted by K-9 Rooster, who had an alert for the odor of narcotics. The Deputy conducted a hand search of the vehicle, and a small baggie of suspected powder cocaine was located as well as two zip-lock sandwich size baggies of light-green-colored round pills, suspected to be counterfeit hydrocodone pills.
Additionally, approximately $1,500 in cash was seized. Later, Narcotics Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit, San Luis Obispo County Probation Department, and Homeland Security Investigations served a search warrant at an apartment in the City of Paso Robles, where Garcia and Chavez were residing. This search warrant resulted in the seizure of additional counterfeit hydrocodone pills similar to that located in the traffic stop, approximately 3/4 pound of heroin with a street value of $10,000, nearly $8,000 in cash, and evidence associated with narcotics sales. Garcia and Chavez were arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale and transporting/selling a controlled substance. The pills from the traffic stop were later analyzed at the Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab and tested positive as a mixture of fentanyl and tramadol.
Approximately 2,000 pills were seized with a street value of $20,000. Of particular note as to the toxicity of Fentanyl, two to three milligrams is considered a lethal dose. Pills similar to these have been attributed to numerous overdose deaths within San Luis Obispo County. Fourteen deaths were attributed to fentanyl last year, and 12 deaths have been reported so far in 2020. Due to the zero-bail policy, Garcia and Chavez, for the various felonies committed, were released back into the community within 4 hours of being booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail.