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Bail set at $5M for ex-Calif. correctional deputy accused of having ties to Mexican drug cartel

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office asked for the ex-deputy’s bail to be increased, citing his potential flight risk due to possible ties with a Mexican drug cartel


By Sarah Roebuck

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A former correctional deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office is facing charges after the sheriff’s office said he had 100 pounds of fentanyl in his vehicle.

Jorge Oceguera-Rocha, 25, is charged with possessing fentanyl for sale and transporting narcotics, according to the Desert Sun. Oceguera-Rocha is also accused of bringing a loaded firearm during a drug offense.

The former correctional deputy resigned after he was pulled over and arrested on Sept. 17. He entered a not-guilty plea while in court on Monday.

Shortly after his arrest, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office submitted an application to increase his bail to $5 million, citing his potential flight risk due to possible ties with a Mexican drug cartel, the Desert Sun reports. On Monday, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that a judge approved the request, but added that a re-evaluation will occur during an upcoming court hearing.

In a news release last week, the sheriff’s office stated that during an investigation into a drug ring, it identified one of its own staff members, Oceguera-Rocha, as a key figure involved in the distribution of narcotics within the county.

After investigators intercepted Oceguera-Rocha’s phone calls, they learned Oceguera-Rocha was planning to travel to an “identified narcotic stash location,” Investigator Joshua Ricard stated in the affidavit.

Investigators followed Oceguera-Rocha throughout the day and later conducted a traffic stop. A trained K-9 alerted investigators to the likely presence of narcotics in the vehicle, the affidavit states.

Four trash bags containing smaller packages were found in the trunk of the vehicle during a search. Ricard reported that the packages, which weighed in at 104 pounds and contained around 520,000 pills, were tested and verified to contain fentanyl. Additionally, a loaded Glock handgun was discovered in a bag on the backseat of Oceguera-Rocha’s vehicle.

Oceguera-Rocha was hired by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office in April 2019 and was assigned to the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility.

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