Attorney gets jail for smuggling drugs into court

LOS ANGELES - A now-suspended attorney who tried to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine to his client in the downtown Criminal Justice Center, then a month later was arrested at the Antelope Valley courthouse for possessing rock cocaine, was sentenced to jail last Friday.Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon of the Justice System Integrity Division said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Fred Wapner sentenced 49-year-old Kenneth Roger Markman to a year in county jail and to a one-year residential treatment program as part of three years of supervised probation. A report on Markman's progress was scheduled for Oct. 15. Markman pleaded no contest last month to conspiracy and drug charges. He was first arrested by Sheriff's deputies on Oct. 21, 2011, after trying to smuggle 26 balloons containing heroin and methamphetamine into a jail holding facility at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. Authorities said he was trying to deliver the drugs to his client, 36-year-old Jorge Zaragoza, who had a court appearance that day in an attempted carjacking case. According to the criminal complaint, Zaragoza and his girlfriend, Jennifer Vasquez, 28, both believed to be with the 38th Street gang, conspired to acquire the drugs and supply them to Markman. Markman was arrested at the courthouse in Lancaster a month later after a security officer saw suspicious items in the X-Ray machine when Markman went through. Authorities said the defendant grabbed his wallet and tried to leave the building, but was stopped by a Sheriff's deputy. Drug paraphernalia and two bindles of rock cocaine were in Markman's wallet, authorities said. The State Bar of California suspended Markman pending a decision on whether he will be allowed to continue to practice law. Markman, Zaragoza and Vasquez were charged in January 2012. Vasquez pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to bring a controlled substance into a jail facility. She was sentenced by Judge Wapner in January to two years in prison, but given credit for 782 days already spent in custody. Zaragoza was due in Judge Wapner's court Tuesday for a pretrial hearing and trial setting.

********** Published: March 21, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 49