VENTURA COUNTY — One of the opening chapters of the somewhat obscure guidebook How to Succeed as a Drug Dealer undoubtedly refers to the leading principle followed by every successful business person engaged in the sale of illegal drugs, to wit: “Never take the stuff yourself. It’s addictive.”
Apparently this was a fundamental tenet overlooked by 27-year-old Moorpark resident Derek Conte, whom Ventura County Sheriff’s Department deputies—while responding to a call reporting a man under the influence—found in his bedroom on September 8th clearly “showing signs and symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance,” as reported by VCSD spokesman Det. J.D. Eisenhard.
While deputies searched Conte’s bedroom, they discovered “over 250 Xanax pills, .58 grams of methamphetamine and heroin, and $580 dollars consisting of all 20 dollar bills.”
At that time, Conte was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and seized the drugs and the cash which were considered to be “the proceeds from illegal narcotics sales.”
Following his arrest and booking, however, over the ensuing week, VCSD detectives were informed of counterfeit $20 bills being used in various retail transactions throughout the City of Thousand Oaks and Moorpark.
At that time, detectives had determined that the cash seized in their initial contact with Conte was indeed counterfeit, but it was not until September 22nd when, pursuant to a new search warrant served upon his residence that their suspicions were confirmed.
At that time, detectives found “an additional $2200 in counterfeit $20s,” leading them to suspect Conte as being involved in their manufacture.
At this time, Moorpark Detectives, the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, the Southern California High Tech Taskforce, and the U.S. Secret Service are seeking any information from the public regarding Conte and his association with the counterfeit currency.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking