A Santa Maria resident, 25 year old Banesa Gutierrez, whose boyfriend is one of the suspects in the Anthony Ibarra murder trial, was arrested on December 17, for attempting to smuggle drugs into the Santa Barbara County Jail and for child endangerment. The service of the search warrant and subsequent arrest of Gutierrez was the culmination of a month long investigation conducted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Jail Classification Unit and our Gang and Narcotics Investigations Unit.
As a further result of this investigation, Gutierrez’s boyfriend, 29 year old Anthony Solis, an inmate at the jail, was also rebooked on additional charges related to drug smuggling and conspiracy.
On December 1st of this year, deputies within the Sheriff’s Jail Classification Unit intercepted a methamphetamine laced postcard from Gutierrez to Solis before it was delivered to Solis at his housing unit within the jail. The Sheriff’s Jail Classification Unit initiated an investigation into this criminal act of smuggling controlled substances into our secured jail facility. Ultimately, the Jail Classification Unit teamed up with the Sheriff’s Gang and Narcotics Units, whose detectives continued the investigation into the source of the smuggled controlled substance and obtained an arrest warrant for Gutierrez and a search warrant for her residence.
At approximately 9 a.m. on December 17, Sheriff’s Detectives served the search warrant at Gutierrez’s residence, located in the Tanglewood area of Santa Maria. During the service of the search warrant, Sheriff’s Detectives discovered controlled substances and drug paraphernalia in Gutierrez’s bedroom, which she shared with her two young girls, ages three and five. Detectives found a small amount of marijuana, about two grams of methamphetamine, methamphetamine smoking pipes which contained methamphetamine residue and marijuana smoking pipes which contained marijuana residue. In addition to finding the controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, detectives also found children’s coloring books and toys inside the same piece of furniture. The controlled substances and drug paraphernalia were accessible to both children as it was stored within a low-lying piece of furniture and mixed in with items that were used by the children.
Based upon these observations, Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives commenced a Drug Endangered Children (DEC) investigation and initiated the Santa Barbara County DEC investigation protocol, including notification of Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services (CWS).
Sheriff’s detectives arrested Gutierrez and subsequently booked her into jail. CWS responded to the location and removed the children from the home. The children were taken to a local hospital to determine whether or not they have sustained narcotics exposure. It will take several weeks before the test results will be available to our narcotics investigators. Both girls were cleared by medical personnel and released to family members. Gutierrez was booked into jail on charges of possessing methamphetamine, sales or furnishing methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit a felony, child endangerment, attempting to bring narcotics into a custodial facility and possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia. Gutierrez’s bail has been set at $100,000.
As result of the evidence gathered during the overall investigation, Solis was re-booked at the Santa Barbara County jail with additional charges of sales and furnishing methamphetamine, attempting to bring narcotics into a custodial facility and conspiracy to commit a felony with a bail of $25,000.