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Guard arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine into jail

The L.A. County sheriff's jailer allegedly had planned to sell it to inmates. The arrest is the latest in a series over internal affairs investigations into the lucrative drug trade behind bars.

February 15, 2012|By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

A jailer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine into the Men's Central Jail with intent to sell it to inmates, authorities said Tuesday.

Remington Orr, 24, who is not a deputy but has worked for the last four years as a custody employee, was arrested late Monday as he was preparing to enter the Men's Central Jail with the drug, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca.

"Obviously, if anybody tries to do this they will be caught, arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Whitmore said. "This is absolutely unacceptable as well as illegal. Nobody is above the law."

Orr, who was being held in custody in lieu of $1-million bail, was booked on suspicion of at least three felonies, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, transportation of a controlled substance with intent to sell and bribery, Whitmore said.

Orr's case, the culmination of a four-week investigation, is the latest in a series of internal affairs investigations — and prosecutions — that have targeted sheriff's deputies and other department staff for delivering contraband and helping to fuel a lucrative drug trade behind bars.

Three sheriff's guards have been convicted and a fourth fired in recent years for smuggling or attempting to smuggle narcotics into jail for inmates.

The porous nature of the jails was highlighted last year when The Times reported 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 now investigating reports of brutality and other misconduct by deputies.

In another notable case last month, a sheriff's deputy was arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle heroin into a courthouse jail inside a burrito.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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