Sheriff’s correctional officer busted for allegedly smuggling tobacco to inmates

Anthony Sodini, 27, a correctional officer for five years, was arrested and booked about 1 a.m. after a Merced County Sheriff’s Department investigation, according to deputy Tom MacKenzie.

After sheriff’s officials began to suspect that Sodini was smuggling contraband to inmates, members of the Merced-Mariposa High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force were brought in to investigate, resulting in Sodini’s arrest.

MacKenzie said it doesn’t appear other employees were involved.

Anthony Sodini, 27, a correctional officer for the Merced County Sheriff's Department, was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 9, after an investigation by Merced HIDTA. Sodini is suspected of smuggling tobacco for inmates.

Anthony Sodini, 27, a correctional officer for the Merced County Sheriff's Department, was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 9, after an investigation by Merced HIDTA. Sodini is suspected of smuggling tobacco for inmates.

A correctional officer at John Latorraca Correctional Center was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of bringing tobacco to inmates at the jail.

“It is regrettable when one of our own makes bad life choices and crosses a line that he or she has sworn to uphold, but I want the public to know that we will not treat it differently from any other criminal investigation, and he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sheriff Mark Pazin said in a statement.

Sodini has been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete. MacKenzie didn’t specify whether the tobacco was in cigarette form. He also didn’t elaborate on whether the tobacco was being sold or how it was brought into the jail.

As for Sodini’s disciplinary record, MacKenzie declined to comment, citing the open investigation.

Sodini was booked into the Merced County Jail on one count of obstruction of justice and 10 misdemeanor counts of bringing contraband into a correctional facility. He was released after posting $7,500 bail, and is scheduled to appear in court March 8 for an arraignment hearing.

The suspect is the son-in-law of sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Sziraki and convicted embezzler Kimberly Sziraki. Kimberly Sziraki is serving seven years in state prison for embezzling $1.4 million from a Merced nut-processing plant.

source: www.sacbee.com

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