The family of 31-year-old Chaz Guy Young-Villasenor alleges that other inmates provided him with methamphetamine and fentanyl, leading to his death on May 5, 2022, one day after his arrest on suspicion of theft and a restraining order violation.
Villasenor, who was identified by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department as Leonel Villasenor, was found unresponsive in a holding cell on the evening of May 5. Naloxone was administered and CPR was performed by jail staff and paramedics, but Villasenor died a short time later, according to the department.
His family’s lawsuit states that Villasenor went into serious and obvious medical extremis in his jail cell” and jail staff watched Villasenor collapse and grovel on his jail cell floor for several hours.”
The lawsuit also alleges that jail staff were aware that inmates had been distributing drugs and failed to prevent such substances from being brought into the jail and distributed among the inmates.
Villasenor was among 19 people who died in San Diego County jails last year. Eleven have died thus far in 2023.
Earlier this year, the San Diego County Grand Jury recommended that scanning technology be more thoroughly implemented across the county’s detention facilities in order to curb the flow of drugs into the jails.
The rate of in-custody deaths at San Diego County jails is among the highest in the state, and according to research cited in the Grand Jury’s report, 89% of county jail deaths between 2010 and 2020 were drug overdoses.