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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Woman Charged With Trying to Bribe Jail Official

October 11, 2000

WEST COVINA — A Baldwin Park woman offered money to a jail official to clear her of felony charges after she had been arrested on suspicion of burglary, police officials alleged Tuesday.

Carmen Barrios, 44, was arrested for burglary at 10:30 a.m. Monday after she entered JC Penney with an empty department store bag, filled it with clothing worth about $80 and left the store without paying, police said.

Barrios was charged with burglary, a felony, rather than the misdemeanor shoplifting because bringing in the empty bag showed her intent to steal the merchandise, said Rudy Lopez, West Covina public information officer.

While being booked at the West Covina jail, police said, Barrios repeatedly asked jailer David Chavira to set her free and drop any record of her arrest in exchange for $10,000.

Chavira alerted an officer of Barrios' offer. The suspect was then allowed to call her husband to set up the deal.

The husband, Ignacio Barrios, 47, could only come up with $5,000, police said. His wife arranged for the transaction to take place in a police station parking lot.

Chavira told the woman he could not leave the jail but his cousin could carry out the deal. An undercover officer waited for Ignacio Barrios to arrive.

The exchange was made and the officer walked away with an envelope containing $5,000. Other officers arrested Ignacio Barrios. He and his wife are being held on bribery and conspiracy charges. Bail for each suspect is set at $50,000. Neither had posted bail Tuesday and were expected to be arraigned today.

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