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Allegheny County Jail Guard Accused Of Bringing Drugs Into Jail And Recruiting Inmate To Sell To Others

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A correctional officer is accused of bringing drugs into the Allegheny County Jail and recruiting an inmate to sell them to others.

Lewis Bagnato is looking at a potential jail stint himself, charged with several counts of possession with intent to deliver.

Lewis Bagnato
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"The officers are there for the care, custody and control of the inmates. They're not there for personal profit. They're not there to bring contraband into the institution. They're there to prevent contraband from coming into the institution," said Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns.

Police said they caught Bagnato on a surveillance camera giving an inmate a batch of K2, a type of synthetic marijuana. Further investigation revealed the inmate sold the drugs to others, who used the mobile device Cashapp to transfer $2,300 to the inmate's girlfriend on the outside.

According to police, who retrieved court-ordered text messages, Bagnato went by the code name "Uncle Kirk" and told the girlfriend to meet him at a McKees Rocks parking lot and pay him the proceeds in cash.

Under the arrangement, police say, Bagnato would keep all of that money but split future sales 50-50. Those sales didn't happen. County police arrested Bagnato on Thursday while on duty, handcuffing him in front of the inmates on his pod and taking him downstairs for processing.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan: Kind of made an example of him?

Kearns: Wasn't so much making an example of him. He was under arrest. Same as the inmates in the pod. If he is engaged in this activity, that's where he's going to end up.

After his arraignment, a judge released Bagnato on his own recognizance. He faces a preliminary hearing on July 21.

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