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Deputy who tried to smuggle heroin in burrito pleads no contest

April 30, 2012 | 12:18 pm

Henry Marin

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who tried to smuggle heroin into a courthouse jail inside a bean-and-cheese burrito pleaded no contest Monday to two felonies, authorities said.

Deputy Henry Marin, 27, faces up to four years behind bars after the open plea to a single count each of bringing drugs into jail and conspiracy. An open plea means there was no previously negotiated deal. Marin faces up to two years in jail when sentenced June 25 by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anne Egerton.

Prosecutors alleged Marin and at least two other unnamed people conspired with him. According to the indictment, one of the two contacted the other to discuss using a deputy to get narcotics into the Airport Courthouse jail.

Several days later, the two met at a sheriff's jailhouse, an indictment states. One instructed the other to get the drugs and stuff them into a "food item," the indictment states. Authorities said a woman took the package to one of the Airport Courthouse courtrooms, where she allegedly met with Marin and handed him the burrito.

The burrito episode was one of a series of contraband-smuggling cases at Los Angeles County lockups.

In recent years, at least three sheriff's department guards have been convicted and a fourth fired in connection with smuggling or attempting to smuggle narcotics into jail for inmates.

The porous nature of the jails was highlighted last year when The Times revealed that FBI agents conducted an undercover sting in which a deputy was accused of taking $1,500 to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate working as a federal informant. Federal authorities are investigating reports of brutality and other misconduct by deputies.

Before the burrito incident, Marin was featured in the first episode of Fox's reality show "The Academy" based on the sheriff’s department's training of recruits.

Marin's subpar performance eventually led to his ouster from Academy Class 355 for flunking two role-playing exercises. In one, he failed to call for help after a suicidal woman drew a gun, and he was unable to recall the radio code for an emergency.

"You blew this one, big time," his instructor says in the TV show.

After he failed a second scenario, Marin was dismissed from the academy.


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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: Henry Marin, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, on an episode of the Fox reality television show "The Academy." Credit: Fox television