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Fire Official in Drug Case Is Reassigned

Los Angeles Assistant Fire Chief James J. Mullen, the San Fernando Valley’s top-ranking city fire official, on Friday was temporarily reassigned to administrative duty pending an internal probe into allegations that he accompanied a woman as she tried to buy cocaine from undercover officers, a Fire Department spokesman said.

The woman, Lisa Andrews of Encino, was arrested Sept. 6 after handing an undercover officer $20 for some rock cocaine. Her arrest report shows she was a passenger in Mullen’s 1991 green Honda Accord and that the car’s driver, identified by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office as Mullen, had picked her up at a Van Nuys street corner known for prostitution and drug dealing.

Mullen, 53, a 31-year Fire Department veteran, was released. Police officials denied that he received special treatment, saying he was not arrested because he did not hand over any cash. Andrews, 29, also faces an unrelated prostitution charge for offering to perform oral sex on an undercover officer on Aug. 9.

The Sept. 6 incident in Mullen’s car also is the subject of review by the city attorney’s office for possible misdemeanor charges.

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Mullen will remain on active duty pending the Fire Department’s internal investigation. Battalion Chief Dean Cathey, a department spokesman, said Mullen was transferred “so he would be readily accessible to the investigation officers working on the case.”

Cathey said Mullen’s regular duties in the Valley will be handled by assistant chiefs from other areas.


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