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Atascadero State Hospital police officer arrested in Santa Maria

Posted at 12:19 PM, Oct 20, 2020

An Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) employee was arrested this week in connection with an ongoing investigation out of Santa Barbara County, authorities say.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says Leonel Lazaro, 36, of Santa Maria, who is reportedly a state hospital police officer, was arrested Monday evening on a Ramey warrant near the intersection of College Drive and Park Avenue in Santa Maria.

“The Ramey warrant was issued based on an ongoing investigation led by detectives from the Special Investigation Bureau,” officials say.

Lazara was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of selling a firearm to a prohibited person, possession of a firearm while addicted to narcotics, conspiracy and embezzlement, which are all felonies, and also providing ammunition to a prohibited person, which is a misdemeanor.

The sheriff’s office says he was released after posting $35,000 bail.

No other information about the investigation has been released.

The Department of State Hospitals told KSBY News: "The Department of State Hospitals is aware of the arrest of one of our hospital police officers by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff and is cooperating with the investigation into the allegations."