FBI Bribed Deputy to Smuggle Cell Phone into L.A. County Jail

Thursday, September 29, 2011
While investigating the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for alleged crimes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may have broken the law as well, and in the process created a serious rift between the two law enforcement agencies.
 
What got the FBI into trouble was its decision to bribe a sheriff’s deputy with $1,500 to smuggle a cell phone into the L.A. County Jail, where deputies have been accused of vicious beatings of inmates and other misconduct.
 
FBI agents didn’t bother to tell the Sheriff’s Department leadership ahead of time about its undercover sting involving the bribe and cell phone, which enraged Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
 
Baca then went on local television and blasted the FBI, saying its cell phone operation created a serious safety breach inside the jail. He also suggested that the FBI had committed a crime by doing so.
 
The deputy who is accused of accepting the bribe, Gilbert Michel, has resigned from the department. He has not been charged with a crime, but is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Department.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca Gives Details of FBI Sting (by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times)
FBI Paid Deputy to Smuggle Cellphone in Jail Sting (by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times)
FBI Probing Reports of Beatings in L.A. County Jails (by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times)
Report Details Wide Abuse in Los Angeles Jail System (by Jennifer Medina, New York Times)

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