San Mateo County Deputy Sheriff, two correctional officers busted for smuggling contraband to jail inmates
“Juan Lopez will restore integrity to the leadership of the Office of Sheriff in San Mateo County.”
So boasted Juan Lopez’s campaign website for Sheriff of San Mateo County. Lopez is a county Deputy Sheriff, and on Friday, San Mateo residents got a taste of his brand of integrity after Lopez and two San Mateo County correctional officers, Michael Del Carlo and George Ismael, were arrested on charges of conspiring to bring contraband into the county’s Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
All three suspects have also been charged with gang enhancements, as the main recipient of the smuggling is a known street gang member who shared the smuggled items, including cell phones and drugs, with his gang cohorts. San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the San Jose Mercury News that the suspects received cash for the smuggled contraband.
“The Sheriff’s Office has hundreds of people who go to that jail,” Wagstaffe told reporters. “Any time you have a breach of security, such as bringing in contraband, that taints everything.”
Ismael, a correctional officer with 15 years experience, is the only one of the three suspects charged with bringing a controlled substance into the jail. He is alleged to have given Oxycodone to an unnamed gang member housed in the jail. Ismael was arrested in Redwood City.
Del Carlo, who has 19 years experience working for the county, was arrested in San Jose.
Lopez, who has worked for San Mateo County for 26 years, was arrested in Newark.
All three suspects were released after posting bail. All three have been placed on administrative leave. Lopez and Del Carlo, if convicted, face up to five years in prison. Ismael faces up to six years.
The Sheriff’s Office learned about the alleged conspiracy back in December, according to the San Jose Mercury News. A sheriff’s spokeswoman, Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt, told SFGate.com that the case was turned over to the district attorney’s office in order to ensure a fair probe.
Lopez ran for Sheriff as a write-in candidate against his boss, Sheriff Greg Munks, after Lopez failed to complete the paperwork and gather the necessary signatures to be placed on the official ballot. He lost to Munks in June, getting less than 2 percent of the vote.
San Jose Mercury News: San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy and 2 jail officers charged with smuggling to gang inmates