A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

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.

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.

View Comments (11)
About the Contributor
James Domizio
James Domizio, Magazine Editor
James Domizio (he/him) is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker in his sixth semester at The Oak Leaf, where he is a magazine editor. James will be graduating in May 2022 with degrees in journalism, film studies and humanities. James is a radio host, Twitch streamer, Patreon creator and musician. James lives in Sonoma and spends his free time watching "One Piece" and "Love Island" with his girlfriend Alex, editor-in-chief of The Oak Leaf.

Comments (11)

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  • S

    ShockedFeb 19, 2022 at 6:35 am

    Any updates?
    I read last Thursday she was going to court.
    Still in shock.

    • N

      Nick VidesMar 10, 2022 at 10:43 am

      We are currently following this case closely. It appears her attorney is asking for more time to review the warrant returns. We will update when we know more!
      -Nick Vides, Photographer/Reporter

  • I

    I knew herJan 22, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Meth destroys the sole of a human and leads to death.
    All these homeless tents are because of people like her.
    She should be kept away from all youth especially any students.

    Meth Heads ….go figure

  • N

    N/AJan 12, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Although as a student leader in years ‘ past, I did not have warm welcomes and/ or the true feeling of support from Robert and Hilleary, this is sad to see that her role impacts a whole student body. The consequences of this will be hard to balance in those offices.

  • D

    DdmJan 12, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Wow to do something like this with your son???? And Wow!! All that Education Degrees? For this????? And Wow all those years employed with good pay???? What’s goin on people??

    • F

      Felicia DarlingJan 12, 2022 at 7:08 pm

      Hello Ddm:

      My name is Felicia Darling. I do not know your name, because your post is anonymous. However, in the spirit of accuracy, I would like to clarify two points in your post. I hope that you receive this in the spirit of being accurate that it is intended. The two points are not your fault. The earlier draft of this article had a couple of misleading ideas. According to the original Nixle report, it appears that Hilleary’s son was NOT charged with distribution. That means that Hilleary did not do “something like this with her son.” Her son was charged with a probation violation for having a ghost gun. Also, she was not, “employed all those years with good pay.” Actually, she began as a community college student as SRJC and continued to work her way up the SRJC ladder for 17 years by working hard, demonstrating her competency, and getting more education. This past year was the first year that she made this amount of money, because she was recently promoted and received her Masters Degree in May. Again, it is not your fault, the original article has been corrected.

      One more thing that I would like to say is that during the last two years, I have had two faculty colleagues approach me because they had suicidal thoughts–and I had to intervene on their behalf. This has been a very rough time for a lot of us. I pray that you have not had as rough of a time as others. However, I pray that you can find compassion in your heart to understand that these very tough times have put people under a lot of stress–and some people are just living off the fumes. Good luck with your semester Ddm:)



    • B

      BobbylonJan 15, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Your comment points several issues with negative energy that YOU developed interacting with humanity. One thing being lack of overview, people are capable of everything you could imagine in conection with logic and laws of physics, “this?????” is nothing, abusing illegal substances to achieve certain goals is as common as cold. Stop acting like you matter more then the next person, you don’t, no more, no less, some do. Have a nice, allround, life.

      • I

        I knew herJan 27, 2022 at 6:47 pm

        Meth rots the body and soul, It will slow,,,kill you
        no love for her from me
        Have a good semester


  • H

    HSJan 11, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    This is really sad, and quite shocking to read. I remember Hilleary as a champion for student success at SRJC. I am glad to see another person speak up on her behalf about her presence at the College. This is sad and bizarre news for both SRJC and students.

  • F

    Felicia DarlingJan 11, 2022 at 8:20 am

    I am so sorry for the loss for the SRJC Student Support Services team–and SRJC, in general. I was one of Hilleary’s mentors, and I am broken by the shocking news of her arrest for meth distribution. It appears that she lost her way during a time when many of us were also struggling to stay centered and on course. I pray for her. I pray for everyone who knows her, so they can find their way to make sense of this and forgive her. Also, I am sorry for the SRJC Student Support Services Team. This is a loss of a passionate colleague who worked hard to support students for years. It will be a heavy lift to replace her at the start of Spring 2022 semester.

    Also, the Oakleaf has her income incorrect. She did not get paid that much. Much of that is benefits. Please correct that. Also, she did not work in that specific position for 17 years. Hilleary worked hard to continue to move up in the SRJC organization. She started in community college, and she was always improving her training and education and pushing herself to her limits. She had just earned a Masters. and was so excited to start her first teaching assignment. She worked hard for students and to be a good single parent to her son. I do not want her arrest for meth distribution to erase who she was and eclipse her contributions and what she meant to the SRJC.

    • J

      James DomizioJan 11, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Felicia,

      The article has been updated to better reflect her income and her role at SRJC. Thanks for reading The Oak Leaf.