Smuggling Narcotics Arrests Part of Ongoing Investigation

In December 2023, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Gang Intelligence Unit, and Corrections Central Investigations Unit began an investigation into inmates and a member of the public smuggling narcotics into the Cois Byrd Detention Center, C. Sergeant Spencer Rustad reported in a news release.

During the course of the investigation, two suspects were identified who coordinated smuggling fentanyl and methamphetamine into the Cois Byrd Detention Center.

On Jan. 26, two search warrants were served in the city of Hemet with the assistance of deputies from the Riverside Sheriff’s Alternative Sentencing Program, and the Corrections K-9 Team. As a result, deputies seized three handguns, several hundred rounds of ammunition, 2.1g methamphetamine, 14g cocaine, 16g heroin, approximately $13,000 and evidence of check fraud.

Four arrests were made:

  • Marcos Lares, a 22-year-old resident of Hemet, conspiracy and furnishing narcotics to a person in a correctional facility, possession of an unregistered firearm.
  • Carlos Vitela, a 21-year-old, (currently in custody at the Cois Byrd Detention Center) conspiring to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility.
  • Peyton Conner, a 19-year-old resident of Hemet, narcotic sales while armed with an operable firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm.
  • Ruth Vitela, a 49-year-old resident of Hemet, petty theft warrant.

This investigation was part of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing mission to prevent narcotics from getting into our correctional facilities. The diligence of our deputies during searches, implementation of the nonintrusive sensor and scanning device known as the “Tek-84,” and comprehensive criminal investigations such as this are among several measures the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office has taken to combat the supply of narcotics into our jail system.

“Inmate education is a priority within our jails, and inmates are furnished with educational material and classes about the dangers of narcotics, with an emphasis on fentanyl, provided by the Detention Health Services Division of the Riverside University Health System,” Rustad said.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is encouraged to contact Investigator Franklin Enochs at 951-955-7076 or C. Deputy Gerald Dye at 951-696-3487.

Image Sources

  • Cois M Byrd Detention Center: RSO