San Francisco

SF Sheriff's Deputy Investigated After Attempt Made to Smuggle Cellphone in Burrito to Inmate

NBC Bay Area has learned the deputy is now barred from going into any of the jails.

A San Francisco Sheriff's deputy is under investigation in connection with an incident where someone allegedly tried to smuggle a cellphone hidden in a burrito to a murder suspect in jail.

NBC Bay Area has learned the deputy is now barred from going into any of the jails. A notice was also sent out with the deputy's name, badge number and a picture warning other sheriff's department staff not to let the deputy into any secured facilities.

The alleged incident happened last Friday outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice and involved a cellphone stuffed inside a burrito carried in a bag.

Law enforcement sources tell NBC Bay Area the deputy in question bypassed metal detectors at the entrance while on his way to murder suspect Michael Green.

Green was locked up on the seventh floor. He is on trial, accused of killing a woman and injuring another at a South of Market nightclub shooting from November 2013.

"This is a huge red flag," San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

Adachi calls the smuggling allegations "extremely troubling."

"It really raises concerns about training and clearly if this is a violation committed by a deputy, what other things are being smuggled in there?" Adachi said.

The sheriff's department will only say no staff members were arrested in connection with the alleged smuggling.

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy released the following statement:

"The introduction of any contraband into the jails is a matter of great concern. cellphones, in particular, can be used to intimidate witnesses and perpetrate crime. We were pleased to have the assistance of other criminal justice partners in intercepting this cellphone before it made it into the jail. Our investigation is on-going."

The sheriff's department also confirmed their office, the FBI and the District Attorney's Office are all conducting investigations.

Still, Adachi does not think the multiple investigations will be enough and said there must also be a review of security procedures for the deputies going in and out of jail.

"Jails are supposed to be a place where people are safe and not having drugs, other contraband," Adachi said. "Yet we often hear they are available. So it raises the question of what procedures are being followed and are they good enough?"

There was at least one additional arrest in connection to the smuggling investigation.

Christian Cornejo, 23, an alleged friend of Green, is accused of handing off the concealed cellphone to the deputy. Cornejo is in custody on a parole hold.

NBC Bay Area has confirmed the District Attorney's Office has already dropped the charge against Cornejo of conspiracy to commit a crime.

The Deputy Sheriff's Association and Green's attorney have yet to return requests for comment.

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