Ventura County – Oxnard’s Silver Strand Beach is known for its clean, shimmering sands and perfect surf breaks. It’s a spot with ample parking facilities that accommodate thousands of summertime visitors seeking fun in the sun. But in the early evening of Satursday, June 27th, it became the site of another kind of recreation involving the use of illicit drugs.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Victor Fazio, it was at approximately 6:00 p.m. on that date when VCSD deputies “responded to a report of a person not breathing” in a parking lot adjacent to the beach. Upon arrival at the scene, deputies discovered the lifeless body of Armando Serna, a 41-year-old resident of Oxnard and the apparent victim of “a fatal overdose from a heroin injection.”
As first responders conducted a preliminary investigation, they were soon joined by forces from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Major Crime Unit, the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office West County Narcotics Street Team. Also at the scene was the individual who initially reported Serna’s lack of respiration, Michelle Filkins, a 52-year-old resident of nearby Port Hueneme, who “told investigators she was a nurse.” She further indicated that she had “attempted to treat Serna,” but had been unable to get him to respond to her ministrations.
It didn’t take investigators on the scene long to determine that in spite of her attempt to render medical assistance to Serna, Filkins had in fact been the one who had supplied him with the heroin injection responsible for his lifeless condition. At that point, Filkins was placed under arrest and transported to Ventura County Jail, where she was booked on charges of furnishing heroin with the special allegation of causing great bodily injury during the commission of a felony. As noted by Fazio, “a charge of manslaughter is possible in the near future.” With her bail set at $150,000, Filkins remains in custody.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking