By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Three inmates allegedly overdosed, and one died at Santa Barbara County’s Northern Branch Jail near Santa Maria this week. [KSBY]
On Wednesday night, custody deputies discovered an unconscious inmate. Staff then provided the inmate multiple doses of naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids. The inmate is now recovering.
A few hours later, early Thursday morning, deputies found two more unconscious inmates in the same unit. Deputies and paramedics performed CPR and administered multiple doses of naloxone to both inmates.
One of the two inmates died. The other regained consciousness and was taken to a local hospital.
Sheriff’s officials identified the deceased inmate as Edgar Mescua Estrada, also known as Edgar Estrada Amezcua. Estrada, a 37-year-old Santa Maria resident, was being held without bail in the aftermath of a May arrest for obstructing a peace officer, violating a domestic violence restraining order and possession of a controlled substance.
An investigation into Estrada’s death is ongoing, though Sheriff Bill Brown released a statement saying it likely occurred due to a fentanyl overdose.
“Sadly, today’s jail overdoses and death appear to be the result of an illicit opioid, probably fentanyl, proving that this scourge upon our community and our nation extends to even the most secure area of our county,” Brown said in the statement. “We will be conducting full criminal and administrative investigations, and a review of our protocols to keep contraband out of our jails, but this tragedy also reinforces our need to work together as a community to address the vexing problem of opioid abuse through enhanced prevention, enforcement and treatment efforts.”