This story, reprinted from The Los Angeles Times, describes the recent arrest of a sheriff’s deputy on charges of trafficking fentanyl in his Southern California community.
Some of the stranger aspects of this case:
- There’s a great deal of fentanyl involved. When the arresting officers intercepted the deputy in his personal vehicle, a Honda Civic, they discovered a cache of more than half a million fentanyl pills, weighing over one hundred pounds, in the trunk. Stored in household trash bags.
- The fentanyl was disguised as ordinary oxycodone — little blue pills, with ‘M30’ stamped on the front, just like the real thing. No indication of the actual contents.
- The deputy himself was arrested and charged, but not with having sold to inmates at the jail where he worked. Hard to believe he hadn’t. Smuggling drugs into correctional institutions is a major problem all over America — one that often involves employees.
That shouldn’t surprise anybody when we take into account that an estimated 85% of the jail and prison population has a history of drug involvement of one sort of another (up to and including addiction). It’s why in some institutions Suboxone is now a valuable commodity, simply because so many inmates are experiencing acute and post-acute withdrawal.
As for trafficking, this sounds like an open and shut case, doesn’t it? With the defendant likely to face incarceration himself. But, his lawyer reminds us, we shouldn’t forget that his client is ‘only’ 25 years old. Not only that, the client reportedly has assured his attorney that “…I promise you, I’m not a bad person.”
So how do they intend to explain his being found with enough fentanyl in his possession to kill something on the order of 2 million people?
Apparently, they plan to portray it as something of a youthful error. The defendant was born in Mexico and his relatives here in the US still maintain close connections back home. It was one of those relatives, in fact, who arranged the pickup, and was waiting to buzz open the garage door at the home in Victorville when the defendant arrived to take possession of the contraband.
I’m not sure what difference that makes. After all, the authorities had been suspicious of the deputy’s activities for months. The arrest itself, like so many we’ve seen on TV, was the culmination of a months-long investigation.
I’m sure the County Sheriff’s Department wants to see justice done and at the same time minimize the damage to the Department’s reputation with the public.
Good luck with that, I guess.