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Ex-Long Beach detective allegedly passed information to gang

CrimeHomicideCrime, Law and Justice

A former Long Beach police detective was arrested Thursday for allegedly passing on information to the city's Baby Insane Crips street gang as her department investigated a slaying, officials said.

Yvonne Robinson, 42, -- who spent 13 years with the Long Beach Police Department and most recently worked as a detective in the investigation bureau's juvenile section -- was taken into custody at her Carson home, Long Beach police said.

Prentice Jones, the 24-year-old brother of Robinson's brother-in-law, was also arrested in connection with the case, police said. He was described as a known member of the Baby Insane Crips.

The pair faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, with an additional allegation the acts were committed to benefit a criminal street gang. Long Beach police officials said Friday it was the first case they could recall where an officer faced gang enhancement charges.

"It's extremely disappointing when the behavior of one individual undermines the public's trust that this department works so hard to uphold,” Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell said.

Authorities said their inquiry began two month before a June 2012 sting on the Baby Insane Crips regarding a series of shootings and the 2009 killing of 19-year-old Frank Castro Jr. Sixteen alleged gang members were arrested in that bust, among them two suspects in the Castro slaying, police said.

During the homicide investigation, detectives had learned someone in the gang was being provided with details of the  investigation to aide the suspects involved that case, McDonnell said.

The leaked information appeared to come from someone within the Police Department, officials said, so a full-scale criminal investigation was launched. 

"Detectives did not hesitate to investigate one of their own," McDonnell said. "We will not tolerate actions that dishonor the badge that we wear so proudly."

Robinson was placed under surveillance during the investigation, police said. After several months, investigators had enough evidence to allege she was using her position as a detective to review police reports and provide information to Jones, who then passed it on to gang leaders.

A felony complaint detailed 21 encounters involving Robinson and Jones beginning March 26, when the detective allegedly called Jones after police issued a press release regarding the Castro slaying investigation.

The complaint also alleged Robinson told Jones he was being followed by a surveillance unit, tried to get him off a gang injunction, and told him that she knew the identifies of the suspects in the killing but had not told police.

Jones allegedly passed some of the information to other suspected gang members, according to the complaint, and referred to Robinson as "the police lady" and his "inside connect."

Long Beach police officials said Friday that Robinson was placed on administrative leave in July 2012 and stripped of her police powers while the department conducted an internal investigation. She was terminated in March 2013 after the conclusion of the investigation.

Police have submitted their case to the district attorney for charges. Both Robinson and Jones posted bail Friday.

McDonnell said police were looking into whether any of the information Robinson allegedly passed to Jones affected the case. He also noted investigators "don't think other employees are involved."

News of Robinson's arrest comes a day after department celebrated the graduation of 40 new recruits, McDonnell said

"Today is a tough day," the chief said.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

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