The officer allegedly accepted about $1,500 to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate who was an FBI informant, sources say. Sheriff asks whether the FBI is capable of investigating alleged jail abuses.
By Robert Faturechi | Los Angeles Times
FBI agents probing misconduct allegations in the L.A. County Jail orchestrated an undercover sting in which they paid about $1,500 to a sheriff's deputy to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate, sources said.
The revelation is the first public indication that the FBI's investigations into allegations of inmate beatings and other deputy misconduct in the jails have uncovered possible criminal wrongdoing.
The FBI conducted the cellphone sting without notifying top Sheriff's Department brass, enraging Sheriff Lee Baca and causing a rift between the two law enforcement agencies…Baca suggested that the FBI committed a crime by doing so.
“It's illegal,” he said. “It's a misdemeanor and then there's a conspiracy law that goes along with it…”
Sources said Monday that the deputy allegedly caught in the sting accepted the money to smuggle the cellphone to the inmate, who was locked up at the Men's Central Jail. Unbeknownst to the deputy, the inmate was working as an informant for the FBI…A source said the deputy, who has not been charged with a crime, is now the subject of a Sheriff's Department criminal investigation…
Federal officials have declined to comment on their investigations and the Sheriff Department's criticisms of their undercover operation…
The sheriff also questioned whether the FBI had the know-how to investigate his jails. “What kind of experience do you have in dealing with all this? And to what extent do you know the policies, the procedures and even the law?” Baca asked of the FBI.
He also criticized the FBI's use of an inmate informant, identifying him as a man facing 400 years in prison for armed robbery. “Jailhouse informants quite frankly are problematic,” the sheriff said…(Full text at Los Angeles Times)