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Identities of five arrested in drug sweep released

Lt. Mike Barnett, commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff's Substation has released the names of the five individuals arrested in the drug sweep conducted in Fallbrook on August 14, conducted by the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) unit in conjunction with the Sheriff's Gang Detail from the Vista station.

Two of the five individuals are residents of other parts of the county.

Steven Burgess, 24, of San Marcos and Christine Harlan, 25, of El Cajon were found to be in violation of the law in Fallbrook during the drug sweep, charged and transported to the Vista Detention Center.

Fallbrook residents Jesus Rodriguez, 22, Mark Fountain, 48, and Jaime Orozco, 39, were arrested in the Sheriff's special operation focused on drug offenders.

As of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18, four of the five appear to no longer be in custody, however, Orozco remains at the Vista Jail on an immigration (ICE) hold.

(previous story - Aug. 17, 2010)

Five arrested in Fallbrook drug sweep

Debbie Ramsey

Managing Editor

Five individuals were arrested on various drug charges pertaining to the narcotics methamphetamine and heroin on Saturday, August 14 when officers with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department conducted a sweep focused on drug use in the downtown Fallbrook area. Two details within the department – the Fallbrook Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) team and the Gang Enforcement unit from the Vista station worked together to conduct the sweep.

"We patrolled areas that residents have told us they have witnessed drug problems going on in," said Lt. Mike Barnett, who assumed the position of commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff's Substation on August 13. "The officers were out and about, conducting traffic stops, making pedestrian contacts, and just doing old-fashioned police work."

Barnett said some of the roadways focused on, from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, were South Mission and South Vine, and officers contacted 32 individuals during the operation.

"Drugs produce physiological changes in people," said Barnett. "Some drugs, like methamphetamine, produce an elevated heart rate, a distorted sense of time, fidgety movements, and dilated pupils, whereas a drug like heroin does the opposite, it results in a depressed heart rate and constricted pupils." In addition to noticing the physical signs of drug use, Barnett said officers further investigate to see if needle marks are visible on an individual's arms or if they are in possession of drug paraphernalia.

"If they are taken into custody, then a blood test is administered; that's where we get the definitive proof," he said.

Barnett said these types of sweeps are vital to reducing criminal activity in the Fallbrook command area.

"The Fallbrook Sheriff's substation is committed to addressing community concerns through both proactive and reactive operations such as this which target drug offenders and gang members in Fallbrook who are responsible for most of the criminal activity that occurs in the community," he said.

Barnett said the public can expect more sweeps in the near future. "We plan to do more operations like this."

The five individuals that were arrested were transported to and booked into the Vista Jail.

"That's where they belong," said Barnett.


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