Arrest in Jail Death Investigation

Ricardo Ortega

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

Sheriff’s detectives arrest subject for furnishing narcotics that led to incarcerated man’s death.

On 08/30/2019, at approximately 8:30 PM, deputies at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility discovered that Alexander Beirne was experiencing a medical emergency in his cell. Deputies immediately began to render aid and summoned jail medical staff. Ultimately, Mr. Beirne was transported by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

An autopsy of Mr. Beirne was conducted by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office. Beirne’s cause of death was determined to be due to methamphetamine intoxication.

The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau conducted an investigation that determined another inmate, Ricardo Ortega, had unlawfully brought methamphetamine into the jail facility and given some to Mr. Beirne just before his medical emergency. It was determined the methamphetamine provided by Mr. Ortega directly caused Mr. Beirne’s death.

On 10/16/2019, Mr. Ortega was arrested for felony counts of PC 4573(a) – Bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility and HS 11379(a) – Furnishing a dangerous drug. Mr. Ortega was in custody at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility on an unrelated case at the time of his arrest. Mr. Ortega’s bail was set at $50,000. He is scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on 10/18/2019.

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