Cher's Houseguest Arrested For Allegedly Selling Illicit Fentanyl

By Paul Gaita 10/02/18

Cher was on tour in Australia at the time of the arrest.


Police in Los Angeles descended on the home of Oscar-winning entertainer Cher to arrest a houseguest who was allegedly involved in the sale of fentanyl that resulted in an overdose death.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Cher's Malibu home on September 27 and arrested 23-year-old Donovan Ruiz whom officials said was living at the residence.  

A spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said that Ruiz was arrested for a "narcotics overdose that occurred within the last two weeks." Cher was on tour in Australia at the time of the arrest.

Some media sources have alleged that Ruiz is the son of Cher's longtime assistant, though this has yet to be verified by police.

What is known, according to a press release from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, is that law enforcement from the Ventura County Sheriff's Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit had been conducting a narcotics investigation into Ruiz for a period of two weeks prior to the arrest, and that Ruiz allegedly sold fentanyl to "many users in Ventura County," including a Thousand Oaks resident who later died from an overdose in mid-September. 

As numerous media sources reported, police served a search warrant at Cher's home in the afternoon of the 25th. Witnesses saw several patrol cars and first responder vehicles at the residence, which initially prompted concerns about the singer's health.

The Blast reported that Ventura County had contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to inform them of their intent to conduct a search on the premises in regard to a drug-related offense. 

Detectives reportedly seized evidence that was allegedly linked to Ruiz and sales of an "illegal controlled substance." Ruiz was subsequently arrested and charged with the sale of such a substance, but again, according to The Blast, additional charges related to the overdose could be expected.

Ruiz's bond was set at $500,000, and it remained undetermined if he would make bail prior to his arraignment in Ventura County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. on October 1. The Blast cited sources that said that Ruiz was a "good person" who would never "sell drugs that would kill someone."

At the time of the incident, Cher was slated to perform at shows in Brisbane, Australia.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.