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Packed with heroin, burrito used in sting had bite

Records reveal how an L.A. County Sheriff's Department task force used a lunchtime sting to target smuggling of drugs behind bars.

January 26, 2012|By Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

Interrogated after he was stopped, Marin admitted that he intended to give the burrito to Alvarez after checking the package and didn't know there were drugs inside. He said he had passed food to Alvarez for about a year. He was never paid to do it, he said, but he did the favor in return for extra sandwiches.

Victor Lewandowski, who was then a sergeant, confronted him with the burrito and showed him the drugs.

"His story that he would risk his job for the promise of a sandwich was ridiculous," Lewandowski testified.

"You're not one bit surprised to see that there is drugs in that burrito, because you knew," the sergeant told Marin.

"No, no, I didn't know. I hadn't checked it yet," the deputy responded.

The other deputy, Oscar Rodriguez, still works for the department and is now in patrol.

A sheriff's spokesman said Rodriguez, whose involvement is still being investigated, declined to comment for this story.

Investigators never found drugs in the package from the couple with the meat sandwiches but believed the contraband could have been taken out before they intercepted it.

During Marin's questioning, he admitted delivering the two meat sandwiches, one for Alvarez and one for himself. When Marin was asked what investigators would have found if they had examined the contents, he was blunt.

"Drugs," he said.

jack.leonard@latimes.com

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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