Deputy’s conviction highlights rising drug presence in county jails

Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi (Los Angeles Times)

The inmate’s request seemed fairly benign inside the teeming, violent Los Angeles County jail. He wanted Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Paul Felix to smuggle him in some decent food.

The deputy knew he was breaking the rules, but he obliged. What started with hamburgers and pizza led to steadily more requests until the inmate asked Felix to perform another favor: smuggle in a marijuana package in exchange for about $600.

That delivery into the Castaic jail would be the first in a months-long series of drug carries the deputy made, netting thousands of dollars in the process. Inmates goaded Felix to bring them more, telling the young deputy that he wasn’t the only officer smuggling drugs, and that they respected him because he was from the “hood.”

The case underscores the Sheriff’s Department’s struggles to keep 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. But Felix’s crime and other recent cases 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 hidden in a toothpaste container into 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 comment.

Full article at:,0,1341736.story

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