SRJC student support manager Hilleary Zarate arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale


Photo courtesy of Hilleary Zarate

SRJC student support manager Hilleary Zarate, 44, was arrested Jan. 10 on charges of possession for sale of methamphetamine, according to authorities. She has been placed on leave “until further notice,” according to Erin Bricker, SRJC director of district and community relations.

James Domizio, Managing Editor

Santa Rosa Junior College Student Support Manager Hilleary Zarate was arrested Monday on drug trafficking charges with her son and a man suspected to be her boyfriend, according to a Santa Rosa police press release.

At 2 p.m. on Monday, the Santa Rosa Police Department detained suspects Rey David Garcia, 42, Hilleary Zarate, 44, and Darrick Zarate, 20, while serving simultaneous warrants at Garcia and Hilleary’s homes. Detectives located 8 ounces of suspected methamphetamine and an untraceable 9mm “ghost gun” owned by Darrick at Zarate’s home; 3.5 pounds of suspected amphetamine and 2.5 ounces of suspected cocaine at Garcia’s home; and digital scales and prepaid cell phones at both residences.

According to the SRPD press release, detectives began the ongoing investigation in December 2021 and “learned through the investigation that both Zarate and Garcia were working together in their drug trafficking network.” The investigation was not related to Zarate’s employment, and there is no current evidence that suggests Zarate or Garcia sold drugs on campus, according to a quote from SRPD spokesman Sgt. Chris Mahurin in the Press Democrat’s Jan. 12 article on the arrests.

Zarate was booked for possession for sale of methamphetamine.

She has been employed by the college for the last 17 years, most recently as a student support manager in Student Services. According to her LinkedIn profile, she started in 2005 and is currently listed as manager of student support, the Welcome & Connect Center and the Dream Center. She also serves as the district ombudsperson. In 2020, Zarate earned $112,062 in regular pay.

She also served as SRJC chapter president of the Service Employees International Union from 2012 to 2016.

SRJC Director of District and Community Relations Erin Bricker said the college is aware of Zarate’s arrest and “will be placing her on leave until further notice.”

Zarate earned a certificate in human resources from SRJC in 2003, a bachelor’s in sociology from San Francisco State University in 2004 and a master’s degree in sociology from Arizona State in 2021.

Anyone with information on the investigation can contact the SRPD through their tip line at this link.

A previous version of this story noted Zarate’s salary as $168,357. That figure represents her total compensation value including benefits. Her salary is $112,062. The story has also been updated with an additional quote from Chris Mahurin, via the Press Democrat.