VENTURA, Calif. – A former Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy has admitted to throwing out a drug test that exonerated a woman who was detained on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine.
According to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, former Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Charles Barrios III, 29, pleaded guilty to one felony count of destroying physical matter in an incident that took place two years ago.
On Nov. 12, 2019, Barrios was on patrol in Camarillo when he pulled over a woman for a traffic violation. Barrios said he suspected the woman was under the influence of methamphetamine and called in a backup deputy to corroborate his suspicion. When a second deputy arrived and assessed the woman's condition, the second deputy agreed that she appeared to be under the influence.
Throughout the endeavor, the woman vehemently denied being under the influence of any drugs. According to the DA's office, Barrios told the woman he would apologize and drive her back to her car if she were to provide a urine sample and pass a drug test.
At the Camarillo station, the woman provided a urine sample and handed it to Barrios. The then-deputy tested the sample with a narcotics test kit, looked at the results and then threw the test kit into the garbage and disposed of the urine sample.
After this, Barrios refused to tell the woman the results of her test and began the process of having her booked into the Ventura County Main Jail. Barrios also told his direct supervisor that the woman had refused to provide a urine sample.
As another deputy began the process of transporting the woman to jail, she told the deputy that she had provided a sample to Barrios who tested the urine but wouldn't tell her the results. That same deputy later found the test kit in the garbage which showed that she tested negative for any controlled substances.
The woman provided a second urine sample, was cleared for a second time and was released and taken back to her vehicle.
An investigation by the sheriff's major crimes bureau immediately began and revealed that Barrios also claimed to have administered a narcotics evaluation at the Camarillo station. Investigators viewed surveillance footage and discovered that Barrios lied about conducting the evaluation.
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub released the following statement to NewsChannel 3-12 following news that Barrios had pleaded guilty to the charge:
"Our public places a great deal of trust and confidence in our peace officers, and we owe our public complete accountability. Whenever a peace officer betrays that trust, we have a duty to take corrective action. The internal mechanisms to identify unethical and unlawful behavior worked as they should in this case, and this is the proper outcome."Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub
Barrios is due back in court on Dec. 15. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and two years of felony probation.