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Riverside County jails witness release of drug offenders
In the last five years, overcrowding across prisons in Riverside County has caused premature release of 35,000 inmates. “Fed kick” is the term used to describe an early release of low-level offenders due to a current capacity crisis in jails throughout the County.
Abraham Zamudio, 34, of Palm Springs, was arrested on drug trafficking charges when police officials, during a stopover, retrieved five pounds of methamphetamine hidden in his car, and another 15 pounds from his house in Riverside. In spite of the 3-year-sentence given to him, in June this year, he managed to walk out of the jail as a free man since the cells were packed to capacity. Along with Zamudio, 42 other prisoners, who were mostly drug traffickers, automobile thieves, fraudsters, and embezzlers of private funds, were also released on the same day. These numbers constitute the overwhelmingly large count of nearly 35,000 prisoners who have been set free prior to completion of their sentence during the last five years, in order to accommodate far more serious offenders.
Further, about three-fourths of the released inmates were already serving their sentence and were made to skip a portion of their jail term, whereas, the remaining were yet to be tried, and could be imprisoned if found guilty, only to be released early. As of October 3, 2016, more than 4,400 inmates have been released due to jail crowding. “This has been completely erosive to the integrity of the sentencing system,” said Becky Dugan, assistant presiding judge of the Riverside County Superior Court.
Drug menace in Riverside County
Built on an intricate network of highways, nondescript suburban surroundings, and a vast expanse of barren desert, Riverside County has emerged as the single largest narcotic trafficking distribution center in the country, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In a span of three years, between 2012 and 2014, the Riverside DEA office, which also covers San Bernardino County, has made seizures of approximately 6,500 pounds of meth and 770 pounds of heroin, which is estimated to be nearly one fourth and one tenth of the meth and heroin seized by the whole of the DEA countrywide.
The DEA attributes the influx of smuggled drugs from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel to its distribution in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Canada. Law enforcement authorities fear an invisible nexus of traffickers, distributers, transporters and transporting consignments of agricultural produce and commercial commodities from Mexico.
“We are almost like the Costco warehouse of narcotics dealers, shipping this poison across the country,” said Frank Pepper, assistant special agent in charge of the Riverside DEA Office. “The amounts we are seeing are unfortunately on the rise, but we’re also seizing more, getting more of this poison off the streets,” he added.
Going drug-free is possible
If you or your loved one is grappling with addiction to drugs or any other intoxicant, seek medical help from the Riverside Drug Treatment and Rehab Center. Our certified addiction advisors will help you get one of the best addiction treatment programs customized to your needs. Chat online with our specialists or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 951-221-4018 for more information.