BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — An aide at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Lerdo Pre-Trial Facility has been arrested and 13 inmates have been charged in connection with bringing illegal contraband into the facility.
The department said that Sheriff’s Aide Erik Belmonte was arrested on April 9 on suspicion of bringing a controlled drug and cellphone into a jail, possessing a controlled drug for the purpose of sales, unauthorized communication with an inmate, conspiracy and participation in a criminal street gang.
The department said he was booked into the Kern County Jail and was placed on administrative leave pending disciplinary proceedings.
KCSO said inmates 39-year-old Gary Pierson and 30-year-old Deshaun Nicholson were arrested for the same offenses as Belmontes, as the department said they were co-conspirators in bringing the illegal items into the facility.
Both inmates were also found to be participants in a criminal street gang, KCSO said.
In addition, 11 other inmates were arrested or charged with additional crimes committed in custody relating to possessing contraband located during this investigation, according to the department.
The investigation started on March 9 after detention deputies found illegal contraband in the Lerdo facility. Through an investigation, the department conducted several searches of the facility and found drugs, jail-made weapons, cellphones and other items.