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Inside the sheriff's department drug burrito smuggling scandal

February 2, 2012 | 10:41 am

Drug smuggling is a problem in the L.A. County jail system. But few cases are as colorful as one involving a drug-stuffed burrito. Times reporter Robert Faturechi described the case this way:

The young woman sat by herself in a hallway of the bustling courthouse, nervously clasping a brown paper bag. Inside was a warm bean and cheese burrito stuffed with 24 grams of black tar heroin.

Henry Marin, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, peeked out from a courtroom and waved her over.

Lunchtime was approaching — lawyers in suits clutched their briefcases and witnesses waited to testify.

As the handoff was made, no one appeared to be paying attention — until a voice commanded: "Deputy Marin, you need to stop."

What Marin didn't realize was that the hallway bystanders were undercover sheriff's investigators. And the woman was a cog in an elaborate sting targeting him and another deputy suspected of smuggling drugs into the county's lockups for inmates in a notorious prison gang.

In the video above, Faturechi discusses the story.

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