L.A. sheriff’s officials indicted on conspiracy, obstruction charges
Seven Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials have been indicted on charges of conspiracy, obstruction and giving false statements as part of the FBI’s long-running investigation into misconduct in the county’s jails, according to an indictment obtained by The Times.
The document shows that federal authorities allege that the officials hampered the federal probe after the sheriff’s department discovered that an inmate was working as a federal informant.
The officials moved the inmate — identified only as AB in the indictment — and changed his name, even altering the department’s internal inmate database to falsely say he had been released, according to the indictment.
In addition, the indictment says, sheriff’s officials confronted one of the lead FBI agents outside her home and falsely claimed that they were in the process of obtaining a warrant for her arrest.
The actions were taken despite a federal judge’s order that the informant appear before a federal grand jury as part of the FBI’s investigation, the indictment alleges. The sheriff’s department was served with the judge’s order Aug. 25, 2011.
The indicted officials are: Lt. Stephen Leavins, who was assigned to the unit that investigates alleged crimes by sheriff’s deputies; Sgts. Scott Craig and Maricella Long, who were assigned to the same unit; Lt. Gregory Thompson, who oversaw the department’s Operation Safe Jails Program; and Deputies Gerard Smith, Mickey Manzo and James Sexton, who worked for Thompson.
FBI agents began arresting L.A. County sheriff’s officials Monday as part of an investigation into misconduct in the nation’s largest jail system.
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