Atascadero State Hospital police officer charged with embezzlement

October 21, 2020

Leonel Lazaro


Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested an Atascadero State Hospital police officer Monday evening on numerous charges, including embezzlement and narcotics and weapons violations.

Leonel Lazaro, 36, was arrested on a Ramey warrant in Santa Maria near the intersection of College Drive and Park Avenue. A judge issued the warrant based on an investigation led by Sheriff’s Special Investigation Bureau detectives.

Deputies booked Lazaro, a Santa Maria resident, in the Santa Barbara County Main Jail on charges of felony selling a firearm to a prohibited person, felony possession of a firearm while addicted to narcotics, felony conspiracy, felony embezzlement and misdemeanor providing ammunition to a prohibited person.

The investigation is ongoing.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

35 years ago there was a ASH employee who had warrants for his arrest on Inernational Drug Trafficking .

Its truly amazing who corrections hires ,its like having the fox guard the henhouse .

In the 60s 70s ASH was hiring ex patients and so was parole department.

There is good employees and the convicts will always try to corrupt all employees ,Kelly Gearhrt was a corrections officer at CMC .Gearhart may have honed his skills through white collar criminals under his watch

IDBOUND, first of all, the employees that work at ASH are not hired by Corrections. They work for the Department of State Hospitals. As in all organizations, workplaces, towns and groups, there are going to be people who are very diverse. Most of the people who work at ASH are decent and hardworking and doing a job that not everyone can do. They risk their safety, everyday to treat patients who have severe mental illnesses that they did not ask for anymore than someone asks for cancer. To stereotype people because of where they work is extremely judgemental and narrow minded. SLOWEB, with respect to the people who have lived in North County for a few years to many decades who appreciate those that risk their lives in order to keep communities in California safer and treat those with mental illnesses , there is a fine line between a decent appreciative citizen of the North County and one who is despicably judgemental, condescending and prejudice. And sadly, there are 23 others who are equally so. Shame on all of you.

I have lived in South Atascadero for close to 50 yrs. With respect to the honest, hardworking ASH employees, the first thing I learned about ASH is that there is a very fine line between the people that live there and the people that work there.

In fairness to the decent people that work there, who risk their well being in the line of duty, the same can be said for many institutions, churches, scouting, and doctors. Opportunity is the fine line in every institution, the larger the institution the larger the risk.

To Jorge Estrada,

Thank you for your post !

Shame on you and all those who voted up to your post. I have lived in North SLO County for 44 years and find there is a fine line between people who are decent and those that are not. You have crossed that fine line and have shown yourself to be judgemental, one who stereotypes, is unappreciative, and thinks that you are better than others. You are not the decent person you think you are.