On October 27, 2018, the Malibu home of singer Cher was searched in connection with an investigation involving the sale of fentanyl in Southern California. Donovan Ruiz was arrested and charged with suspicion of selling drugs. Ruiz, who lives on the estate, is the 23-year-old son of one of Cher’s assistants.
The 72-year-old singer, who is currently on tour, was not at home. Cher was not the focus of the two-week-long investigation.
Serious Criminal Charges
Ruiz is expected to face additional charges because the drugs he allegedly sold were involved in at least one overdose death. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matthew Young said, “Fentanyl sold by Ruiz was eventually consumed by a victim in the city of Thousand Oaks who later overdosed and died.”
In California, law enforcement officers are taught to regard overdose scenes as possible murder cases. Although California does not have a specific statute to deal with fatal overdose cases, there is an applicable federal law—distribution resulting in death. Right now, similar cases have already been filed in San Diego.
Adam Braverman, who serves as the US Attorney for the Southern District of California, has said, “We want to send a message to drug dealers—if you sell drugs and the user dies from those drugs, you will be prosecuted.”
Fentanyl in San Diego
Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, San Diego is at particular risk from the drug threat posed by fentanyl. Most of the fentanyl in the United States comes from Mexico and China.
Between 2014 and 2017, the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in San Diego more than quadrupled. The hardest-hit areas were downtown San Diego, Hillcrest, and Oceanside.
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