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Sophisticated schemes used to smuggle drugs into L.A. County jails

Drugs in jail

The case of L.A. County sheriff's deputy Peter Felix, who was sentenced for smuggling drugs into a jail, underscores the Sheriff's Department's struggles in keeping drugs out of the nation's largest county jail system.

Deputies confiscate drugs from inmates on a regular basis -- and have done so for years. Felix's case and other recent ones reviewed by The Times offer a window into the elaborate schemes used to breach jailhouse security for major profit.

Earlier this year, Deputy Devin McLean admitted in an interview with a sheriff's investigator that she had smuggled heroin in a toothpaste container into a jail, according to a district attorney's office memo.

McLean said she was given the drugs by her then-boyfriend, a former inmate she had met while working at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic. McLean explained that she carried the drugs into the jail in her backpack and then delivered the heroin inside a bedroll to an inmate, the memo stated.

Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against McLean, saying that they did not have enough evidence to corroborate her statement at a trial. She has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. Her attorney declined to comment.

In March, a federal grand jury indicted an employee of a private company that delivers food to the jails for allegedly smuggling more than 100 grams of heroin into the North County Correctional Facility. That amount would easily get 150 users high, one expert said.

Angelica Mora, 40, was allegedly part of a drug ring whose members communicated in code using jail telephones. Another defendant, the operation's drug supplier, also oversaw other criminal activities for a Los Angeles street gang and the Mexican Mafia, a notorious prison gang, according to court records. Mora, the supplier and several other defendants accused in the scheme have pleaded not guilty.

In June, a Beverly Hills attorney was charged with trying to smuggle heroin to inmates in a courthouse lockup.

Read the full story here.

-- Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi

Photo: Peter Paul Felix, 27, a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, is taken into custody after being sentenced to four years for smuggling drugs into a county jail. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (17)

These are the kind of people that give officers a bad rep. A few corrupt cops do not make us all corrupt. Maybe he will get protection from the inside because of his previous work for the scum, not...

Let me get this straight....A Deputy smuggles heroin into the jail and admits it.........she's not charged, and put on PAID leave!.........and we wonder why California is in trouble.

Nikita Khrushchev said “We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism. "

the whole judicial system is a joke, we give the poor three strikes for minor crimes but make excuses for thug politicians who rob the people blind. No wonder this state is a mess.

Start cracking down on illegals who are abusing our system,i.e. living 4 families to a single family residence(against zoning laws)getting food stamps,welfare,W.I.C,medical,etc.I see nothing but these people breaking the law SEVERAL times a day(jaywalking,riding bikes on the pedestrian walkway(sidewalk),no helmet,no lights,no bike registration)no paying taxes.....ad nauseum

I wish I had a job that paid me while I did not work so they could investigate me... I bet she keeps her job and her multi-million dollar pension... The benefits of being a civil servant!!!

And I thought men with their trunks filled with birthday presents would get themselves arrested on purpose to supply their homies on the inside.

The WHOLE correctional system NEEDS to be revamped, and if this means FIRING everyone then so be it. Even Attorney's are doing it ? This is unbelievable ! No wonder no one is afraid of going to jail, free room and board and drugs too. Someone who REALLY has an interest in either rehabilitating criminals and keeping monsters out of the public NEED to work here NOT people who are IN IT only for the money. I've SEEN guards DO THINGS that are incomprehensible to a normal person. As much as they are guarding criminals there are 'temps' there as well ( the 2 day drunk driving con) who are treated just as HARSHLY as a 'career' criminal. The guards themselves are sometimes WORSE than the offenders.

The toothpaste trick is not new just ask US Customs.

The inside job with the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy is all they needed.

Does not take brains.

Deputy Devin McLean should be arrested without pay unless she was the RAT!

And she confessed to the wrong doing. The power of the unions here.

make drugs legal, and fire half the prison guards and corrupt police officers

Where does heroin come from???......from afghanistan which is occupied by u.s. troops, cia, fbi, etc.....who breing the drugs to america to finance off the book cia, fbi, nsa operations

Yeah that's the reasons some of the feds, and local officers are arresting so many low level drug dealers because they're cutting in on their profits, it's called GREED...

A police officer is arrested every day in America!

Corruption does ooze in.

most officers are supplementing their incomes.

let me see, the usa dropped all criteria for jobs in favor of diversity and affirmative action in the 70's. this is what you get and will be getting in the future. suck it up.


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