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Sheriff's officers sneaked cellphones, drugs to inmate, D.A. says

Sheriff's officers sneaked cellphones, drugs to inmate, D.A. says
Three San Mateo County Sheriff's Department officers have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs and cellphones to a gang member inside a detention facility. From left: Michael Del Carlo, George Ismael and Juan Lopez.

Three San Mateo County sheriff's officers, including a deputy, have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling cellphones and contraband to a gang member inside a detention facility, authorities said.

San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said Deputy Juan Pablo Lopez and two correctional officers were arrested Thursday on felony warrants on suspicion of smuggling cellphones and drugs to the gang member, who was an inmate at Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City.

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Lopez and the other officers, identified as George Ismael and Michael Del Carlo, also allowed other gang members to used the phones and drugs while they were inside the jail, Wagstaffe said.

Investigators began looking into the deputy and the officers' actions in December 2013 after the sheriff's office began to suspect there was inappropriate activity involving them and inmates.

Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt, a sheriff's office spokeswoman, said the case was turned over to the district attorney's office "to ensure a fair and impartial investigation."

"The San Mateo Sheriff's Office is concerned about these allegations and takes them very seriously," she said in a statement. "If these allegations are found to be true, they do not reflect the core values and professionalism of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and will not be tolerated."

The deputy and officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Lopez, Del Carlo and Ismael face conspiracy charges in connection with bringing cellphones into jails and obstructing justice.

Ismael faces additional charges in connection with smuggling drugs into jail and furnishing drugs to inmates, Wagstaffe said.

The three men also face a gang enhancement charge, he said.

For breaking news throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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