VCSO: SP man arrested for allegedly supplying heroin that led to overdose

March 10, 2017
Santa Paula News

A Santa Paula man was arrested Tuesday on charges related to the overdose death of his friend for whom he allegedly acted as the go-between for a heroin purchase.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the incident occurred December 29, 2016, at about 5:42 a.m., when VCSO Deputies from the Ojai Police Department responded to a residence in Meiners Oaks, for a report of a possible heroin overdose.  

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Bureau, Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force and the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit responded to the scene and learned an unidentified 23-year-old male had passed away as a result of heroin use.  

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Bureau and the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit began an investigation into the victim’s death.  

“In a coordinated effort,” according to VCSO Detective Chip Cadman, “numerous interviews were conducted and arrests were made of individuals who were associated with the victim and/or involved in selling him drugs.” 

Through the arrests, interviews and investigative leads, detectives believed the unidentified victim had obtained heroin with the aid of Clinton Zachery Erickson, 23, of Santa Paula, and from Gregory Scott Ledbetter, 26, of Ventura.  

Detectives wrote and served multiple search warrants in the case, and after serving same, obtained evidence and conducted additional interviews leading to the arrest of Ledbetter March 3 for suspicion of furnishing heroin to Erickson and involuntary manslaughter. Erickson was arrested March 7, for suspicion of furnishing heroin to the victim and involuntary manslaughter.

According to Cadman, the investigation is ongoing; Erickson and Ledbetter have future court dates pending.

In recent years, heroin has seen a rising popularity across the nation and in Ventura County, with teens first starting on opioids found in their parents’ medicine cabinets than moving on to the harder drug. 

Users, a high proportion of whom are 20 to 39 years old, can smoke or inject the heroin, the latter leading to overdoses.

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