Cuesta College breach led to drug bust
June 17, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
While serving a search warrant at the home of a Cuesta College Human Resources analyst suspected of misappropriation of employee personal information, investigators discovered more than four pounds of methamphetamine and heroin.
On May 31, a Cuesta College employee allegedly breached the campus data system and then emailed employee names, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers to her private email account. A week after the theft, campus police became aware of the breach and asked the San Luis Obispo District Attorneys Office for assistance.
On June 11, Cuesta College Police officers and SLO District Attorney investigators searched the Paso Robles home of Lacey Fowler, a Cuesta College analyst, and her husband Chad Fowler, campus sources said.
Inside a storage unit at the residence on the 3000 block of Creston Road, investigators discovered 5 pounds of methamphetamine and 7.1 ounces of black tar heroin, reportedly worth about $27,000. Retired sheriff deputy Micheal Wasley, a relative of Lacey Fowler, owns the property.
Campus police then called in SLO County Sheriff’s narcotics investigators to assist. Sheriff deputies arrested Chad Fowler on charges of possession of heroin for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale, with an enhancement for possessing more than one kilo of methamphetamine.
Chad Fowler remains in the San Luis Obispo County Jail with bail set at $200,000, according to the sheriff’s website.
Shortly after the search of the Fowlers’ home, Cuesta College President Gil Stork informed employees through an email of the breach of their personal information. Stork also warned employees to take precautions to protect themselves from the breach noting that college officials would follow up with suggestions.
Lacey Fowler is currently on approved medical leave, said Millisa Richerson, Cuesta College’s executive director of human resources and labor negotiations. Richerson would not comment on the identity of the employee responsible for the data theft because of employee confidentiality.
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