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November 2020


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: inmate abuse

FBI Agent Defends Use of Troubled Inmate in L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies Case

Steve Neavling

The lead FBI agent on the sweeping corruptions case involving the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies testified Thursday that it was important to document inmate abuse by smuggling a cell phone to a prisoner with a history of violence and lying.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the defendant Deputy James Sexton is accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for trying to hide inmate Anthony Brown from FBI handlers.

Sexton’s attorney grilled Agent Leah Marx about the wisdom of giving a contraband cellphone to an image with a checkered past.

“Did it concern you, Agent Marx, at that point that Mr. Brown … had been convicted of 15 felonies and sentenced to more than 400 years?” O’Brien asked.

Marx responded that criminal histories among informants is always a concern but in this case it was important to work with the inmate because of the seriousness of the corruption and abuse allegations against deputies in the L.A. County jails.



FBI Paid LA Sheriff’s Deputy $1,500 to Smuggle Phone to Inmate in Sting

By Danny Fenster

The LA Times reports that a cell phone smuggled into the Los Angeles County jail to help document alleged inmate abuse was smuggled in by a county Sheriff’s deputy, who was paid about $1,500 as part of an FBI undercover sting. had previously written about the incident, noting the Sheriff’s displeasure with the Fed’s approach. Sheriff Lee Baca, the county’s top brass, was not notified about the FBI investigation into inmate abuse, which has caused a riff between the FBI and the county police. Baca will meet with U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. Tuesday to discuss the incident, which he calls a major safety breach.

“It’s illegal,”Baca said, according to the LA Times.  “It’s a misdemeanor and then there’s a conspiracy law that goes along with it.”

The deputy that aided the FBI was Gilbert Michel, 38, who did not know the inmate he was giving the phone to was an FBI informant, the Times reported.  Michel resigned shortly after being put on leave, according to the LA Times. Michel has not been charged with a crime but is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

This is not the first investigation of LA County jails. To read more about the case and the context of the county jails, click here.