LOS ANGELES -- Long before he made the news for allegedly smuggling a heroin-stuffed burrito behind bars, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Henry Marin was a reality TV star -- of sorts.
In the first episode of Fox's reality show "The Academy," which followed a class of Sheriff's Department recruits, Marin was portrayed as the dim-witted class bumbler.
On the first day, he was caught by his supervisor dozing during orientation.
"If he doesn't have the discipline to come here on Day 1 and show some respect," says one drill instructor on the show, "he's certainly not gonna have the discipline to work in the field of law enforcement."
In another episode, the deputy has a wardrobe malfunction. "What is wrong with you recruit?" his drill sergeant shouts. "Your tie's on backward on top of your collar. You've got to be kidding me."
Marin's subpar performance eventually led to his ouster from Academy Class 355 for flunking two role-playing exercises. In one, he failed to call for help after a suicidal woman brandished a gun and he was unable to recall the radio code for an emergency. "You blew this one, big time," his instructor says.
After he failed a second scenario, Marin was dismissed from the academy. "You seem to have no knowledge or understanding of the laws that guide you and allow you to do certain things," a sergeant tells him on the show when he was let go.
Marin was allowed to re-enroll in a later academy class and successfully graduated, a department spokesman said.
Earlier this week, Marin was charged in connection with a scheme to smuggle heroin, hidden inside a bean-and-cheese burrito, into a courthouse jail. He pleaded not guilty after surrendering to fellow deputies at the sheriff's South Los Angeles station.
The charges against Marin are the latest in a string of prosecutions and internal affairs investigations that have targeted corrupt sheriff's employees for helping fuel a lucrative drug trade behind bars.
Three sheriff's guards have been convicted and a fourth fired in recent years for smuggling or attempting to smuggle narcotics into jail for inmates.
Authorities said Marin has been relieved of duty. He was released from custody Wednesday on $25,000 bail. His attorney declined comment.
For the 27-year-old, this week's events might turn out to be the end of a career in law enforcement that got off to a bumpy start.
In one 2007 episode of "The Academy," over melodramatic guitar strums, the doe-eyed Marin confessed he had no friends in his academy class. "I'm better just keeping to myself," he revealed.
"He certainly wasn't one of our best," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said of Marin's performance on the show.
"The Academy," which focused on the Sheriff's Department for two seasons, singled out several struggling recruits and drew fire from both the state's law enforcement training commission and the department's own civilian watchdog.
Many of the recruits who later became deputies reported concerns that inmates recognized them from the show and saw them as vulnerable, according to a 2008 Office of Independent Review report.
On the first season of the show, after he was called out for snoozing in class, Marin speaks of his dream to become a cop and his struggles to make it in the academy.
"The thing that made me want to become a deputy was that ever since I was young I just enjoyed law enforcement," he says. "The job that they did is just incredible. The crimes and everything that happens, I just want to do something about it. I do have what it takes to become a deputy. I just got to take it more seriously."
During week 16 of the 18-week academy, Marin took part in an exercise in which he and other recruits searched for a burglary suspect in a house. After the test, an instructor criticized Marin for turning his head away from areas he was meant to be checking, saying the recruit "put himself and his partners in a life-threatening situation."
The failure led instructors to cut Marin from the class. The recruit was told he would have a second chance but would have to change his ways.
"If you decide you want to come back here, you need to come back here with a renewed attitude and a totally different approach," an academy sergeant tells him on the show.
Afterward, Marin speaks of his disappointment.
"Hopefully I'll be back," he says.
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