District Attorney Erik Nasarenko was publicly sworn into office on Wednesday, January 11, at the Museum of Ventura County. During the event, Nasarenko spoke about the unnerving rise in fentanyl-based case filings seen in Ventura County, which have risen 3,428 percent in three years according to a recent press release sent out by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
Presiding Judge for Ventura County Superior Court, the Honorable Kevin G. DeNoce administered the ceremonial oath of office.
When addressing the fentanyl issue, the District Attorney vowed to continually “seek judicially approved warrants and surveillance methods” and “work with each law enforcement partner” so the county can continue to prohibit and stop the supply of this deadly poison into Ventura County.
Since he believes addressing the supply cycle is key to resolving this problem, Nasarenko announced a new agreement with the FBI to cover complex financial crimes and money laundering schemes in effort to “dismantle the cartels and the Mexican based drug trafficking organization by dismantling the network they profit from.”
Those who sell fentanyl and the person dies, can be charged with second degree murder.
In attempts to protect and educate children about the risks of fentanyl, the County Opioid Abuse Suppression Team will be delivering naloxone to school districts and providing advice on how to properly use narcan if necessary.
Nasarenko started his remarks with gratitude, thanking Judge DeNoce, Chief of Bureau Investigations, Scott Whitney, his family along with many others who made the occasion possible.
Nasarenko credits teamwork as a top reason for Ventura County’s success, specifically highlighting how individuals on the Board of Supervisors, the Ventura County Police Departments and additional members of the community work together to fulfill common goals and objectives leading into the fentanyl situation.
“So why do I talk so much about teamwork? Because I want to enlist each one of you into what I consider to be the defining crisis of our time, of this generation; and it is the crisis of fentanyl,” said Nasarenko.
The DA’s office news release described fentanyl as “an extremely powerful synthetic opioid, estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, according to the Ventura County Opioid Task Force.”
The District Attorney spoke about the dangers of the drug, such as how strong of a drug it is and how it replaced the harvest of poppy production in places like Afghanistan, Myanmar and Mexico.
Nasarenko shares the statistics that, “in 2021, more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses. 80,000 of them were opioid based. Opioid deaths right now are surpassing car accidents, gun violence, as well as suicides.”
Nasarenko was appointed District Attorney by a 5-0 vote of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on January 26, 2021, becoming the 24th District Attorney in county history. On June 7, 2022, he was elected District Attorney by Ventura County voters and will serve a 6-year term. Assembly Bill 759, signed into law by Governor Newsom in September, temporarily extends the terms of district attorneys and sheriffs to six years to align the elections for those offices with presidential elections.”
In Nasarenko’s concluding statements, he invites the community in raising awareness about this public health crisis and to aid in the fight against this drug and individuals who use or sell it.