Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail
Written By: Robert L. McCullough
September 8, 2022 – Ventura County, Ca. – Perhaps hoping that the aroma of bad news is somehow mitigated if the public doesn’t get a whiff of it for a month or more, on September 7th Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Deputy Cody Sulflow finally announced the early August arrests of four individuals suspected of multiple criminal offenses involving the importation of controlled narcotics into the Ventura County Jail over the preceding three months.
According to Sulflow, Ventura County Jail staff “located numerous pieces of suspicious mail containing contraband” as early as June of this year. At that point the facility’s Classification Unit brought the VCSD Narcotic Street Team onto the case and an investigation of individuals both in custody and at liberty among the public was immediately initiated.
Within a short time, “a sophisticated criminal conspiracy” involving current inmates and individuals “out of custody” was identified with the modus operandi of “narcotics being mailed into the facility.” 20-year-old Oxnard resident Carlos Barragan and 26-year-old Ventura resident Peter Robledo were identified as conspirators in the operation, while 24-year-old Port Hueneme resident Randi Ballai and 31-year-old Oxnard resident Laura Savala were determined to be their co-conspirators.
On August 4, 2022, search warrants on the residence of Ballai were obtained and served, turning up “an unregistered firearm and evidence of her involvement in the crimes.” She was promptly arrested and transported to Ventura County Jail, where she was booked on charges of conspiracy, bringing drugs into a jail, and unlawful transfer of a firearm.
Six days later, on August 10 th , deputies showed up at Savala’s residence with search warrants in hand. Upon discovery of additional evidence indicating her role in the conspiracy, she was arrested and booked on the same charges of conspiracy and bringing drugs into a jail. On the same day, contact was made with Robledo and Barragan, both of whom were arrested and booked on charges of conspiracy, bringing drugs into a jail, and sales of a controlled substance.