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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

FBI Paid LA Sheriff’s Deputy $1,500 to Smuggle Phone to Inmate in Sting

By Danny Fenster

The LA Times reports that a cell phone smuggled into the Los Angeles County jail to help document alleged inmate abuse was smuggled in by a county Sheriff’s deputy, who was paid about $1,500 as part of an FBI undercover sting. had previously written about the incident, noting the Sheriff’s displeasure with the Fed’s approach. Sheriff Lee Baca, the county’s top brass, was not notified about the FBI investigation into inmate abuse, which has caused a riff between the FBI and the county police. Baca will meet with U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. Tuesday to discuss the incident, which he calls a major safety breach.

“It’s illegal,”Baca said, according to the LA Times.  “It’s a misdemeanor and then there’s a conspiracy law that goes along with it.”

The deputy that aided the FBI was Gilbert Michel, 38, who did not know the inmate he was giving the phone to was an FBI informant, the Times reported.  Michel resigned shortly after being put on leave, according to the LA Times. Michel has not been charged with a crime but is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

This is not the first investigation of LA County jails. To read more about the case and the context of the county jails, click here.


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