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Santa Barbara County Arrestee Dies in Jail

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office reports that an arrestee died while in police custody.

According to police, 56 year old Joel Huerta was arrested at 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs following a domestic disturbance call in the 500-block of east De La Guerra Street in Santa Barbara.

Due to Huerta's level of impairment, Santa Barbara Police placed restraints on Huerta before taking him to the Santa Barbara County Jail. He arrived at the jail at about 12:50 a.m. Upon his arrival, jail medical staff tried to assess Huerta, but he refused to answer any questions.

Once Huerta was in his cell, his restrains were removed and he almost immediately became unresponsive. Medical staff and deputies attempted life saving efforts including applying an automatic external defibrillator and CPR. Huerta was pronounced dead after paramedics arrived, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's and Santa Barbara Police are investigating. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, and an official cause of death is pending toxicology lab results.

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