Accused Drug Dealer Arrested At Cher's Was Fleeing To Australia Where She's On Tour

//cher houseguest donovan ruiz suspect overdose death drugs flee australia doc
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Oct. 2 2018, Updated 12:27 a.m. ET

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The alleged drug dealer who lived in Cher’s Malibu mansion was on his way to Australia where the singer's on tour right before he was arrested in connection to a overdose death, according to court documents obtained exclusively by

The 72-year old singer has been in Australia for her tour when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit served a search warrant on Sept. 27 at her home at the 25000 block of Pacific Coast Highway and arrested Donovan Ruiz, 23.

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Ruiz, who is the nephew of Cher’s longtime assistant, was arrested for the Sept. 14 death of Thousand Oaks, Calif. resident Kevin Cunningham, according to a declaration filed by California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Winter.

In his declaration, which was included in a motion to increase Ruiz’s bail, Winter wrote the 23-year old suspect not only has access to money from his alleged illegal drug sales, but also from his various connections.

“Donovan Ruiz is the suspect in the overdose death of Kevin Cunningham,” Winter wrote. "Ruiz is an admitted drug dealer, who admitted selling Fentanyl to Cunningham the night of his death, on 09/14/18. Ruiz has access to large amount of money and private airplanes, through his aunt and family friends. Ruiz was arrested on his way to LAX and was planning on traveling to Australia.”

Ventura County prosecutors have not filed criminal charges against Ruiz in connection to Cunningham’s death. Ruiz, however, appeared at Ventura County Superior court on Sept. 28 where he was charged with various felonies and special allegations in connection to a Aug. 5, 2017 arrest. Among his charges include possession of cocaine base for sale and selling/transporting controlled substances.

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Ruiz has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. However, If he pleads guilty or is convicted of all of the charges in the 2017 case, the 23-year old could face a maximum state prison sentence of 15 years and 8 months, Deputy District Attorney Taylor Waters told exclusively.

James Baroni, senior medical examiner investigator with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, told that Cunningham’s cause and manner of death are still pending per autopsy results. Cunningham, who was a surfer, was 26 years old.

Ruiz remains in Ventura County jail in lieu of a $500,000 bail for his recent arrest and a $90,000 bail for his 2017 case, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 10.

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