LASD: Overdose task force investigating a half-dozen overdoses in 24-hour span

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Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives are investigating a half-dozen overdoses, including a fatal overdose, which happened in a 24-hour period all surrounding a residential area in Saugus. 

A sergeant with the Sheriff’s Department’s Overdose Response Task Force confirmed Wednesday an overdose investigation was underway from an incident that took place in the 28000 block of Newbird Drive, a quiet residential neighborhood near Saugus High, approximately three-tenths of a mile from where a handful of overdoses occurred the previous night at Bouquet Canyon Park.  

The coroner’s website identified the decedent Wednesday evening as Brandon Shubunka, 35, of Saugus. 

The fatality marks the 31st death believed to be connected to an overdose this year in Santa Clarita, based on recently released statistics.  

In the park incident, five individuals, two men and two women ages 18 to 20, and a fifth person, believed to be a man in his 30s, were treated for overdoses, according to sheriff’s officials. Two of the men were taken into custody, as was one of the women. 

“There were three taken into custody, all adults,” said Sgt. Jason Viger of the SCV Sheriff’s Station, who confirmed investigators are looking into five individuals who overdosed at the park on Wellston Drive in Saugus and were subsequently treated by L.A. County Fire Department personnel. 

Sheriff’s Department custody records available online indicate the names of the suspects are: Robert Alcott, 19; Macie Barr, 19; and Hector Gonzalez, age unknown. 

The three individuals were arrested on suspicion of felony charges, possession of a controlled substance for sale, once they were released by the hospital and then booked at the SCV Sheriff’s Station, Viger said. 

The extent of the overdoses is still being investigated, but there was an amount of suspected fentanyl recovered at the park and probable cause for three arrests, officials said. 

“Interviews were conducted and two of the three were released pending further investigation, and one posted bail,” Viger said Wednesday.  

While the overdoses are suspected to have been caused by fentanyl at this time, investigators suspect that a few of the individuals might have not realized that they were ingesting the deadly opiate. 

A local drug-treatment expert noted recently that incidents involving dealers who are lacing other narcotics with fentanyl and then selling them to customers without their knowledge are becoming increasingly common. 

“It’s in all drugs,” said Cary Quashen, president and founder of Action Drug Rehab, “and sometimes the dealers don’t even know what they’re getting.” 

A Fire Department official confirmed Narcan was administered to two patients at the scene after medical personnel responded to the park at around 4:19 p.m. Tuesday, according to Ruben Munoz of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. However, he could not confirm whether the Narcan, which is a commercial name for the overdose drug naloxone, was self-administered or given to the patients by either law enforcement or Fire Department personnel, only that it had been used by the patients.  

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