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Sheriff: Kilo of fentanyl seized near Nipomo following search for wanted felon

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Posted at 12:52 PM, May 19, 2022

Two people are facing charges in connection with the seizing of a kilo of fentanyl in the Nipomo area. The sheriff’s office says that amount of the synthetic opioid contains approximately 500,000 lethal doses.

Last month, the sheriff’s office says its Gang Task Force was tracking a wanted felon suspected of driving into San Luis Obispo County and possessing a large amount of narcotics.

Deputies say they spotted the suspect vehicle the night of April 22 and tried to pull the driver over on northbound Highway 101 just north of Highway 166 but sheriff’s officials say the driver took off, eventually coming to a stop on the shoulder of the highway just south of the Tefft Street offramp in Nipomo.

The suspect, identified as Julian Ackerman, 31, of Coalinga was reportedly a passenger in the car being driven by a woman, identified as Zoe Elizabeth Rutledge, 20, of Nipomo.

“As a deputy questioned the occupants of the car, the car suddenly took off and exited the highway at Tefft Street,” according to a sheriff’s press release.

The vehicle was later stopped at E. Tefft Street and Beechnut Street in Nipomo.

Rutledge was detained but Ackerman took off, according the press release, and was taken into custody after reportedly being seen running into a field near East Branch Street in Nipomo.

A backpack found in the field contained approximately 2.2 pounds of fentanyl, according to the sheriff’s office, which adds that the backpack was the same one deputies had seen inside the vehicle before Ackerman reportedly ran off.

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Fentanyl sheriff's officials say was seized in Nipomo last month

Sheriff’s officials say the estimated worth of the seized fentanyl was $25,000 “or if sold by the gram at $125 a gram, that would be worth $125,000,” according to the press release.

Ackerman is facing charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, transporting a controlled substance for sale and resisting a peace officer. Jail logs show he remains in custody with bail set at $266,000.

Rutledge is facing charges of attempting to evading a peace officer in a reckless manner. She also remains in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to jail logs.