Tanaka and Capt. William Carey Turned Themselves Into FBI This AM
A former second-in-command at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — who lost his bid for sheriff last year — has been indicted for allegedly overseeing an elaborate scheme to disrupt an FBI investigation into the abuse of inmates at county jails.
During a Wednesday morning press conference, Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is now the mayor of the city of Gardena, was indicted on federal charges after months of grand jury proceedings. Alongside Tanaka, former sheriff’s Capt. William “Tom” Carey was also charged.
The two men surrendered to the FBI at the federal building near Westwood Thursday morning, when the 25-page indictment was unsealed and distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The allegations in this indictment include cover-ups, diversionary tactics, retribution and a culture which is generally reserved for a Hollywood script,” said David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, at a Thursday morning news conference.
“No one is above the law,” Bowditch said.
The alleged plot to quash the federal investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses at county jails began in summer 2011, when sheriff’s officials learned that a jail inmate was an informant to the FBI, federal authorities said. Sheriff’s Department deputies moved the man around in the jail system, hid him, altered records and attempted to prevent investigators’ access to him, according to federal prosecutors.
Seven other former sheriff’s deputies were convicted last year of participating in the plot, which was centered at the Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. They were all convicted of obstruction of justice.
A total of 21 sheriff’s officials have been charged.
“The leaders, who foster and hide the corrupt culture of their organization, will be held responsible, just like their subordinates,” said Stephanie Yonekura, acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, at the news conference.
Three individuals who were on Carey’s staff — Lt. Stephen Leavins, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long — have been convicted. The two sergeants threatened to have an FBI investigator arrested.
Four others who were convicted worked in the jails: Lt. Greg Thompson and deputies Gerard Smith, Mickey Manzo, and James Sexton.
The cases have prompted “significant steps” toward reform within the department, Yonekura said.
Leroy Baca, the FBI said, has not been charged at this time.