Forget cellphones. The hot new item for L.A. County Sheriff's deputies to smuggle into jail on behalf of inmates is:
Heroin. Wrapped in a burrito.
According to a Grand Jury indictment just unsealed by the L.A. District Attorney this afternoon, sheriff's deputy Henry Marin, 27, was caught "smuggling drugs into a courthouse jail in a burrito" on February 23, 2010. And a probe by the sheriff's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau found...
... that he'd been engaging in similar conduct for nearly a month beforehand.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore (who's having a hell of a day, thanks to a viral video of a different deputy beating a woman on the bus) says Marin was relieved of duty without pay for allegedly "furnishing a controlled substance to an inmate."
Specifically, heroin. Wrapped in a burrito.
"The sheriff has been known to move ahead and terminate somebody" when the evidence is damning enough, says Whitmore. And "this is inexcusable."
(KNX news radio reporter Claudia Pecuitta got a slightly different response: "Just asked someone at #LASD about the deputy who allegedly smuggled heroin into jail in a burrito," she just Tweeted. "The response? Laughter.")
Marin, the deputy accused of the big burrito smuggle, was assigned to the Court Services Division at the Airport Courthouse at the time of the alleged crime. His bail was set at $25,000. However, Marin has entered a "not guilty" plea in L.A. County Superior Court, and is slated for a pretrial hearing on February 16.
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More from the D.A.:
Marin is charged with one count each of bringing drugs into a jail and conspiracy to commit a crime in case No. BA382993.
On Feb. 23, 2010, Marin allegedly conspired with another person or persons to transport narcotics into the jail.
A spokeswoman was unsure how much heroin, exactly, was stuffed inside of the burrito, nor the manner in which it was distributed within.