VENTURA, Calif. – A former Ventura County Sheriff's Deputy that admitted to throwing out a drug test that exonerated a woman who was detained on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine has been sentenced to one year in prison.
Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced Wednesday that former Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Charles Barrios III, 29, would also be placed on felony probation for two years. In November, pleaded guilty to one felony count of destroying physical matter in the incident that took place more than 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.
Barrios told the woman he would apologize and drive her back to her car if she could prove she was not under the influence. The woman was taken to the Camarillo sheriff's station where she provided a urine sample. Throughout the entire ordeal, the woman maintained that she was not under the influence of any drugs.
Barrios tested the urine 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. 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 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 told NewsChannel 3-12 back in November that Barrios' conviction was the correct outcome.
"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," Ayub said in a November statement.
The one-year sentence and two years of felony probation was the maximum sentence that Barrios was allowed to serve.