Smuggling Bean-And-Cheese Burritos (With Heroin) Into L.A. Jails

Former L.A. County Sheriff's deputy Henry Marin says he didn't know what was inside the food he passed to inmates.

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Chris Miller / Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / Handout / Rueters

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies.

As far as smuggling attempts go, a bean-and-cheese burrito hasn’t proven the best of conveyances. And as far as picking the best smuggler, don’t opt for a sheriff’s deputy who flunked out of the academy while on a reality television show.

Henry Marin, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced to two years in jail, according to the Los Angeles Times, for his role in smuggling burritos filled with black-tar heroin into a courthouse lockup. He admitted to passing along “food” to a specific inmate at least 25 times.

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Marin, now headed to jail himself, was already the subject of some notoriety after he was kicked out of a recruiting academy during a FOX reality television show, The Academy, for a pair of obvious blunders. The 2007 show chronicled Marin electing not to call for backup after a suicidal woman pulled out a gun in a role-playing exercise. In another scenario, he couldn’t remember the proper code to alert dispatchers of an emergency.

But once he reenrolled—and passed—following the show, he became the subject of an internal investigation into drug smuggling in the department.

Marin’s arrest came after an undercover sheriff’s investigator watched him take a bean-and-cheese burrito from a woman while stationed at the Los Angeles airport courthouse. That burrito contained 24 grams of black-tar heroin. He resigned from his post in April and pleaded no contest to drug smuggling and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors claim that Marin, 27, was a key piece of the smuggling ring; inside the prison system, the heroin he helped move fetched 10 times its street value. But the defense countered that Marin was just trying to deliver food to inmates — some of whom went to the same high school he had — with no knowledge of the drugs stashed inside. There was no evidence that Marin ever gained financially from the transactions.

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