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Riverside County Sheriff drug smuggling investigation nets nine arrests

RIVERSIDE COUNTY – Nine people were arrested after the Riverside County Sheriff’s department conducted the “largest investigation in years” to solve the issue of drug smuggling into the jails.

In October 2023, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Investigation Bureau began an investigation into inmates coordinating with persons outside of the jail facilities to smuggle narcotics into the jail. Through the course of this investigation, several suspects were identified who were smuggling in fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine.

Multiple search warrants were served Tuesday, Dec. 19, and probation searches conducted throughout Riverside County with the assistance of Hemet Gang Task Force, Perris Gang Task Force, Jurupa Valley Sheriff’s Station, Perris Sheriff’s Station, Riverside Alternative Sentencing Program and the Special Enforcement Bureau K-9 team. As a result of the searches, deputies seized three handguns, a rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, a ballistic vest, fentanyl pills, brass knuckles and 80 grams of methamphetamine. In total, nine arrests were made, five of which were for conspiring to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility.

Those arrested included: John Cox, a 38-year-old resident of Menifee who was already in custody for other charges, for allegedly conspiring to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility; Richard Johnson, 30-year-old resident of Perris who was already in-custody for other charges, for allegedly conspiring to smuggle charges into a correctional facility; Francisco Rodriguez, 25-year-old resident of Riverside, who was already in custody for other charges, for allegedly conspiracy to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility; Antoinette Dudding, a 39-year-old resident of Riverside, for allegedly transportation of narcotics, conspiring to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility and child endangerment; Tabitha Longoria, a 23-year-old resident of Menifee, for allegedly possession of methamphetamine, possession of fentanyl, possession of narcotics for sale and conspiring to smuggle narcotics into a correctional facility; Randy Carey, a 48-year-old resident of Homeland, for alleged felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of a controlled substance and violation of probation; Roy Earnest, a 40-year-old resident of San Jacinto, for alleged possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed, felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of a ballistic vest; Matthew Smith, a 42-year-old resident of Moreno Valley, for alleged possession of stolen property, identity theft and violation of probation and Wendy Wilson, a 45-year-old resident of Hemet, for alleged felony warrant for auto theft and possession of stolen property.

The investigation was part of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office ongoing mission to prevent narcotics from getting into the correctional facilities.

“The diligence of our deputies during searches, implementation of the non-intrusive 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,” according to the sheriff’s department.

If anyone has information related to this investigation, they are encouraged to contact Investigator Art Rodriguez at 951–922–7152.

Submitted by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

 

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