A defendant in the gang-related torture and homicide of Anthony Ibarra has been rebooked on additional charges after authorities say his girlfriend allegedly smuggled methamphetamine to him in the Santa Barbara County Jail.
Banesa Gutierrez, 25, of Santa Maria was also arrested this week for attempting to smuggle the drugs into jail and for child endangerment, which was the culmination of a month-long investigation conducted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department's Jail Classification Unit and Gang and Narcotics Investigations Unit, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
Hoover said Gutierrez is the girlfriend of Anthony Solis, 29, of Santa Maria, who is one of nine defendants awaiting trial after being indicted in connection with the murder of Anthony Ibarra, 28, on March 17.
Authorities began the joint investigation earlier this month, when deputies within the jail classification unit intercepted a methamphetamine-laced postcard from Gutierrez to Solis before it was delivered to his housing unit.
Hoover said the agencies obtained an arrest warrant for Gutierrez, and executed a search warrant Tuesday morning at her residence in the Tanglewood area of Santa Maria.
Sheriff’s detectives discovered controlled substances and drug paraphernalia in Gutierrez’s bedroom, which she shared with her two young daughters — ages 3 and 5, Hoover said.
She said detectives also found a small amount of marijuana, about two grams of methamphetamine, methamphetamine smoking pipes containing methamphetamine residue and marijuana smoking pipes with marijuana residue.
Children’s coloring books and toys were found inside the same piece of low-lying furniture, and therefore were accessible to both children, Hoover said.
The children were removed from the home, and taken to the local hospital to determine whether they had been exposed to the narcotics, Hoover said, noting that test results would take several weeks to come back. She said both girls were subsequently cleared by medical personnel and released to family members.
Gutierrez was arrested and 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. Her bail was set at $100,000.
Solis was rebooked into the 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.
Hoover said the Sheriff’s Gang Investigations detectives would conduct further investigation to determine whether this case was committed for the benefit of, or in association with, a criminal street gang.