By the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
The quick actions and lifesaving efforts of Custody Deputies at the Northern Branch Jail have resulted in the reversal of two inmate overdoses, but sadly, one inmate was beyond resuscitation. On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at approximately 9:06 p.m., Custody Deputies were alerted by another inmate that their cellmate in D Unit was unresponsive. Custody Deputies quickly responded to the cell and found the unconscious inmate, lying on the ground and turning blue. Custody Deputies radioed for Wellpath medical and began life-saving measures including two rounds of Naloxone. When Wellpath medical arrived, they gave the inmate two more rounds of Naloxone and continued lifesaving measures while County Fire and American Medical Response (AMR) was enroute. When AMR arrived, the inmate had become conscious and was transported to an area hospital for follow-up care.
Hours later, on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at approximately 1:45 a.m., Custody Deputies were again called to D Unit for a medical emergency where they found an unconscious inmate. As they began lifesaving measures, they cleared the cell of the remaining occupants, and in the process found an additional unconscious inmate. While County Fire and AMR were enroute, Custody Deputies administered seven rounds of Naloxone to the first inmate and performed CPR. When AMR arrived, they continued thorough live saving measures, but were unable to revive the inmate who was pronounced deceased at approximately 2:20 a.m.
The additional inmate was administered six doses of Naloxone by Custody Deputies along with CPR. He eventually regained consciousness and was transported to an area hospital for follow-up care.
Although this death appears to be an apparent overdose, the Sheriff’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. The Sheriff / Coroner’s Office will conduct further investigation to determine the cause and manner of his death. The decedent is identified as 37-year-old Edgar Mescua Estrada, also known as Edgar Estrada Amezcua from Santa Maria. He was arrested on May 5, 2022, by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for 69 PC- obstructing a peace officer (felony), 273.6(a) PC- violation of a domestic violence restraining order (misdemeanor) and 11377(a) H&S- possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor), with a felony violation of probation hold for a previous conviction of 273A(a) PC-child cruelty. He was being held without bail.
Sheriff Brown said, “Sadly, today’s jail overdoses and death appear to be the result of an illicit opioid, probably fentanyl, proving that this scourge upon our community and our nation extends to even the most secure area of our county. We will be conducting full criminal and administrative investigations, and a review of our protocols to keep contraband out of our jails, but this tragedy also reinforces our need to work together as a community to address the vexing problem of opioid abuse through enhanced prevention, enforcement and treatment efforts.”
The Sheriff’s Office would like to highlight this incident as an example of the danger of fentanyl use, the importance of carrying naloxone, and recognizing the signs of overdose which may include:
- Difficult to wake up
- Slowed Breathing
- Blue or pale lips and fingernails
If you notice these signs, call 911 immediately and give naloxone. For more information about fentanyl overdose, the signs of overdose and how to get naloxone, visit fentanylisforeversb.org