Simi Valley heroin ring busted amid spate of overdoses, police say
Simi Valley police have arrested two people believed to be running a heroin delivery ring in an investigation that comes amid a series of at least seven fatal heroin overdoses in the city.
Black-tar heroin from Mexico in recent months has been ravaging well-to-do suburbs, with Redlands, Valencia, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks among those also reporting deaths from overdoses of the drug.
Simi Valley officers ended a three-month investigation last week by arresting Oscar Ramirez, 20, and Kelly Diaz, 27, on suspicion of transporting and selling heroin, police said. Both are being detained on immigration holds because they are suspected of being in the country illegally, police said.
The pair allegedly ran a heroin operation in Simi Valley, in which addicts called a telephone number and had the drugs delivered to them, police said.
The arrests followed those of three San Fernando men by Simi Valley police in late March who were suspected of heroin trafficking and selling to youths. In that case, officers seized five pounds of heroin and $120,000 in cash, police said.
Simi Valley residents have formed an anti-heroin task force to find ways of combating the use of heroin among their children, police said.
Much of the heroin use is by youths already addicted to prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin taken from their parents’ medicine cabinets, task force members have said.
At a task force meeting Monday night, Paul Strickland, a board member of the William S. Hart Union High School District in Valencia, told members his district also was being hit with heroin abuse.
Four students have died of overdoses in that district since January, Strickland said.
Last month, Redlands police responding to a series of fatal heroin overdoses arrested a group of people allegedly running a similar delivery operation.
-- Sam Quinones
Photo: Simi Valley City Hall. Credit: Sam Quinones / Los Angeles Times