Three Ramona adults, one minor arrested in sheriff’s high school drug sting

A yearlong undercover investigation targeting drug-dealing at Ramona and three other area high schools culminated in the arrests of six minors and 10 adults.

During the probe, youthful deputies posed as students at Ramona, Abraxas, Mission Hills, and Poway high schools, and were able to buy narcotics at three of the campuses, including Ramona, according to sheriff’s officials. The types of illicit substances purchased included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

As a result of the investigation, dubbed “Operation A Team,” deputies and agents with the Narcotics Task Force and North County Regional Gang Task Force served 19 arrest warrants — nine for current and former students at the four schools, and 10 to adults who allegedly sold drugs to the plainclothes personnel.

In addition to the juvenile suspects, whose names were withheld because they are underage, the following adults were arrested Tuesday morning: 21-year-old Jesse Dean Escalante, who already was in custody at Vista Jail on fraud charges; Maxwell Gaffney, 19, of Ramona; Ramon Kelly, 45, of Vista; Skylor McGee, 20, of Ramona; Kevin Ernesto Meza, 18, of San Marcos; Johny Viet Nguyen, 18, of Poway; Milton Ortena, 19, of San Marcos; Christopher Payne, 18, of Ramona; Edwin Sanchez, 19, of San Marcos; and Philip M. Silva, 25, of San Diego.

The following three suspects remain at large: Troy Gagliano, 22, of Poway; Erik Johnson, 18, of Poway; and Jesus Zurita, 18, of San Marcos.

All but one of the juveniles were taken into custody at their high schools. The Ramona teen is a female, according to the sheriff’s report.

In addition to disrupting narcotics sales at the campuses, the investigation “provided intelligence on larger drug suppliers in the area,” according to Sheriff Bill Gore.

“The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and NTF are pursuing these leads and will continue the investigation,” he said. “The take-away from today is this — if you want to buy illegal drugs, you very well could be talking to a deputy sheriff.”

Related posts:

  1. Sheriff arrests 7 in drug bust
  2. School, sheriff stage ‘must-see’ Drug Abuse Prevention Night
  3. Detectives arrest three in marijuana sting
  4. Residents focus on drug-related crimes at sheriff’s meeting
  5. Sheriff’s pursuit leads to lockdown at Ramona High

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on May 1 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, Sheriff/Fire. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments for “Three Ramona adults, one minor arrested in sheriff’s high school drug sting”

  1. Death via heroin overdose, via smoking or IV. Progressive Cerebellar Dementia via smoking opiates. Trauma from friends or family members overdosing on opiates.
    Parents… look for used tin foil with black marks in your kids rooms.
    Parents… be aware that the drug dealers in Ramona are pretty brash and they text message your kids if your kid is a known consumer of any kind of drugs, including MJ, and that they will try to offer your kids "something better," ie heroin.
    Urine drug screens are expensive at the local pharmacies, but you can buy them online for 25% of the cost through Tell your kids you'll be doing randomized drug screens to give them a reason to say "no thanks" to their "friends." Tell them that you are doing the drug screens because you dont want to falsely accuse them of using drugs . They can be angry at you. But that is ok, compared to the alternative.

  2. Parents– also lock up all pain meds, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants. First taste for these meds come from the home medicine cabinet. First drugs sold also from parents or grandparents med cabinet.
    Also if your kids hang out unsupervised in the parks at SDCE, be aware that dealers flock there after school also.
    Parents of adults/minors who are already opiate dependent and who are prescribed suboxone /subutex, make sure the prescribing doctor is drug testing your child for other drugs and for buprenorphine. If buprenorphine is not in their system , they are most likely selling/trading it for other drugs, most likely heroin/oxy/etc. Again, these drug tests are not expensive online.

  3. Local

    Skylor McGee got away with Burglary last time. He has thumbed his nose at the Justice System, and has not learned his lesson. We can only hope that the HAMMER falls hard on him this time. Ramona will be a safer place to live, if Criminals like him are behind bars.

  4. lisa

    I hate all of you that talk about how horrible they are you don't know anything. How much the family struggles how much they struggle learn about addiction before you talk idiots. They were once great little children Ramona needs to get it together get rid of the drugs give children something to do. As a community we need to work together.

  5. lisa

    He is a child you idiot

  6. lisa

    Heroin up here is taking over our children, children that were brought up in Christian homes and private schools. No one is immune it is the scariest thing in the world I don't what we are gonna do to get rid of it but it is soooo serious. Please have sympathy and try to help any way you can these are not bad kids they need help they are not all from bad families don't talk bad about people you don't even know about their lives.

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