UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.:
In response to questions from the Outpost, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office provided a bit more information about the facts behind Aguirre’s arrest and the allegations against him.
Asked what contraband he’s accused of bringing into the jail, Public Information Specialist Samantha Karges said via email, “[E]vidence indicates that opioids and methamphetamine were brought into the jail by Aguirre.”
The investigation was initiated after a witness “from outside the facility” came forward with information about the alleged smuggling, and all evidence thus far indicates that Aguirre was alone in committing these acts, Karges said.
What was he getting in exchange for this smuggling? “We believe Aguirre was receiving payments in some form of currency,” Karges responded.
She also addressed his background:
Aguirre was hired in 2019 and previously worked in a private prison in Kern County. He received the required correctional deputy college course prior to being hired and passed our in-house training program. Prior to being hired, Aguirre also passed an extensive background, polygraph, and psychological examination.
He posted bail shortly after his arrest. A number of the questions we asked — including which inmate(s) Aguirre allegedly brought contraband to, what relationship they had (if any) to Aguirre, and what Aguirre had on him at the time of his arrest — went unanswered on the grounds that this is still an active investigation.
Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
In February of 2021, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received information that a correctional deputy was involved in the smuggling of contraband into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on behalf of inmates. The Humboldt County Drug Task Force (DTF) was assigned to investigate. A month-long DTF investigation revealed that Ricardo Tranquilino Aguirre, 27, of Eureka, CA, was the involved deputy.
On March 2, 2021, at about 5:30 p.m., Aguirre was taken into custody inside the Correctional Facility for being in possession of a controlled substance while armed (HS 11370.1(a)), smuggling contraband into a jail (PC 4573), possession of a controlled substance for sales (HS 11351) and transportation/sale of a controlled substance (HS 11352(a)).
Aguirre has been a correctional deputy with the Sheriff’s Office since September 2019 and has resigned from his position as of today. Since his arrest, further evidence was discovered that Aguirre had been smuggling drugs into the facility for the past several months and he had acted alone. The investigation is being referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
“Correctional Deputies are hired to protect and serve those that are in the care and custody of the Correctional Facility. As members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards of conduct,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said. “Ricardo Aguirre’s criminal and disgraceful conduct is the antithesis of the professional standards, ethics and organizational values of the Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Aguirre’s actions do not represent the principles that are the foundation of our organization. He will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and I will be working with the District Attorney to ensure this case is fully prosecuted.”
Sheriff Honsal would like to thank the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing (POP) team, and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their support during this investigation.