NewsCovering Kern County


Wasco State Prison employee arrested after alleged attempt to buy drugs from undercover cop

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 20:02:14-04

WASCO, Calif. — A Wasco State Prison correctional officer is one of the suspects recently arrested after allegedly conspiring to posses with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, according to court documents.

Officials say on Monday 38-year-old Joseph Andrade and his accomplice 50-year-old Leonard Velazquez-Martinez conspired to purchase around 40 pounds of methamphetamine and two kilograms of cocaine from an officer posed as a drug dealer. According to officials, Andrade was employed as a Correctional Officer at Wasco State Prison at the time of his arrest.

Officials say Martinez and Andrade arrived at a location in Kern County to buy the drugs from the undercover cop. At the time of the crime, Andrade was reportedly driving his car with Velazquez in the front seat.
Velazquez allegedly showed the undercover officer a grocery bag containing money, which was on the passenger-side of the car.

23ABC reached out to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, who says Andrade will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation. The CDCR says Andrade is a 13-year veteran and started at the correctional officer’s academy in May of 2006, and has been employed at Wasco State Prison since August of 2006.

If convicted, both Andrade and Martinez face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine.