BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On March 9, an investigation started at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Lerdo Pre-Trial Facility after illegal contraband was discovered within the facility. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Units were called to assume the investigation.
The Narcotics Units, in conjunction with Detentions Deputies, conducted searches of the facility and located additional illegal contraband including narcotics, jail made weapons and cellular telephones.
On April 9, Sheriff’s Aide Erik Belmontes, 26, was arrested for the following charges:
- Unauthorized communication with an inmate
- Bring a controlled drug Into a Jail
- Bring a cellphone Into a jail facility
- Possession of a controlled drug for the purposes of sales
- Conspiracy to commit a felony crime
- Participation in a criminal street gang.
Belmontes was booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Central Receiving Facility with a bail of $110,000, pending court proceedings.
Gary Pierson and Deshaun Nicholson, both inmates housed at the Lerdo Facility received the same charges as Belmontes as 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.
In addition, 11 other inmates were arrested or charged with additional crimes committed in custody relating to possessing contraband located during this investigation.
This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at (661)861-3110.