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Newport Socialite Arrested on Suspicion of Selling Drugs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Newport Beach socialite and children’s advocate was arrested on suspicion of selling illegal drugs, police said Friday.

Tina Schafnitz, 37, was arrested in Tustin on March 16 after she allegedly sold more than half an ounce of cocaine worth $1,000 to an undercover police officer, Tustin Police Lt. Mike Shanahan said.

Schafnitz was booked into the Orange County Jail. She was released March 17 in lieu of $25,000 bail pending an arraignment, Shanahan said. A Costa Mesa woman who was with Schafnitz was questioned and released without being charged, Shanahan said.

Schafnitz and her husband, Matt Schafnitz, a partner at a Laguna Niguel insurance brokerage firm, have been active in the Orange County social scene for many years.

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Their 7-year-old son was born with achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism. His birth spurred Schafnitz to take a prominent role in the Irvine-based Short Stature Foundation. She has also helped raise funds for child-abuse prevention programs, including ChildHelp USA.

The Schafnitz family could not be reached for comment Friday.

Friends said Schafnitz has been “unreachable” in the weeks since her arrest. Still, they remain supportive and sympathetic.

Patti Edwards of Newport Beach, whose husband, James Edwards III, heads Edwards Theaters, has worked with Schafnitz on various charity projects.

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“Tina has done many things in her life that have been a blessing to others,” Edwards said Friday. “Right now, I am praying that she will take in the help she needs.”

Times staff writer Ann Conway contributed to this report.


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