Ventura County Sheriff

THOUSAND OAKS - A major drug bust lands a Venice driver in jail, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. 

Details of the case show that last month detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Street Team developed information regarding a drug trafficking organization based in Los Angeles. 

The organization was responsible for the distribution of illegal narcotics to residents of Ventura County, deputies stated. During the course of an investigation, Detectives determined the organization distributed both bulk and user quantities of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and counterfeit pills believed to be laced with fentanyl.  

Detectives identified Venice resident Mark Gerontzos as a delivery driver who distributed the narcotics for the drug trafficking organization and were granted a search warrant for him and his vehicle based on their investigation.

On November 9, Narcotics Detectives detained Gerontzos pursuant to the search warrant in a public parking lot in the 900 Block of Academy Drive in the City of Thousand Oaks.      

During the search of Gerontzos’ person and vehicle, Narcotics Detectives seized over ten ounces of fentanyl, eight ounces of heroin, 638 counterfeit oxycodone pills (believed to be fentanyl), three ounces of methamphetamine, a loaded handgun and a large amount of US Currency of suspected drug proceeds. The total amount of opioids seized during this arrest is approximately 520 grams, which equates to approximately 13,000 doses. As a point of reference, ingesting as little as .25 milligrams of fentanyl could be a fatal amount.  This equates to just this one seizure having the potential to kill over a million people.

Based on the investigation, Gerontzos was arrested and booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility on various narcotics and weapon charges.  He was released on an $80,000 bond and is scheduled for an arraignment hearing on November 28, in Ventura County Superior Court. 

The Sheriff's office stated on Thursday that Ventura County, much like the rest of the United States, is dealing with an opioid related overdose epidemic. Because of that, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Narcotics Units have focused its efforts in combatting the spread of the illicit narcotics by targeting the supply chain of individuals and criminal organizations responsible for the sales of these drugs into Ventura County. We actively work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to stem the tide of this epidemic. 

The investigation is on-going and additional arrests are pending.