SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A number of agents with the department that protected Governor Jerry Brown when he was targeted by a Mexican drug cartel are facing hundreds of layoffs.
Sources told CBS13 that Brown received about three months of around-the-clock protection during his crackdown on marijuana growing operations as Attorney General a year ago. One of the drug cartels put out a hit on Brown as retaliation, and agents from the Department of Justice were called on to keep him safe.
DoJ agents have also played key roles in numerous high profile local cases, including the arrest of Scott Peterson and the search for Sandra Cantu and the investigation into her death.
“So much of what we do is kept out of the public eye, and it’s not by accident,” said Mike Loyd, president of the Association of Special Agents for the Department of Justice (ASA-DOJ).
The ASA-DOJ is asking Brown to allow Attorney General Kamala Harris to have discretion in how she makes budget cuts to her department. Harris sent a letter Wednesday, saying “restoration of this funding is their number one priority,” and then warns that “this week, DoJ will issue ‘option letters’ to over 250 employees that will identify employment choices.”
About half of the special agents could face layoffs if cuts proceed as planned.
Loyd said he met with Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, who said Governor Brown wanted cuts specifically aimed at agents.
“I’m hoping they give the AG spending authority to avoid the cuts. That’s what we’re hoping for,” Loyd said.
ASA-DOJ leaders supported Republican candidate Meg Whitman during the 2010 elections, but the California Department of Finance said any claims the cuts are politically based are baseless.