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2 Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s employees accused of sexually assaulting inmates

SB sheriff's employees
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
Salvador Vargas and Gabriel Castro

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Two employees of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office have been arrested on allegations of sexual assault against inmates.

The two employees were arrested after a months-long investigation that was sparked after a report was received by an inmate back in August 2018.

The investigation involved two separate criminal investigations that happened around the same time with connected witnesses. Sheriff's investigators spoke to numerous inmates, some of whom have been transferred throughout the state.

On Thursday, charges were filed with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and arrest warrants were issued for the two employees.

Salvador Vargas, 34, of Santa Maria

One of the employees has been identified as Salvador Vargas, 34, of Santa Maria. Vargas was hired in April 2018, as a social worker and was assigned to the Main Jail as a Discharge Planner.

Vargas was arrested on a warrant for forcible oral copulation and sexual activity with a person in custody; both are felonies. Vargas is in custody with a bail amount of $100,000.

Gabriel Castro, 47, of Ventura

The second suspect is Gabriel Castro, 47, of Ventura. Castro was hired in July 2002 and worked as a Custody Deputy at the Main Jail.

Castro surrendered to detectives Friday at the Ventura County Jail and was booked on a warrant for forcible sexual penetration by a foreign object, and sexual activity with a person in custody; both are felonies as well. His bail is set at $100,000.

Both suspects have been on paid administrative leave since September 2018, the sheriff's department said.

The Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to thoroughly investigating allegations of misconduct by employees and does not tolerate the victimization of inmates who are entrusted in our care. The alleged actions of these employees violate the Core Values of the Sheriff’s Office, in addition to the law, and are intolerable.

Press release from Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

Anyone with any information relating to these investigations is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division at 805-681-4150.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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