Federal smuggling probe targets two San Luis Obispo Police Department officers

San Luis Obispo police officers Armando Limon and Dan McDow have been on administrative leave for nearly three weeks, since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained them on suspicion of transporting illegal contraband into the country.

City Attorney Jonathan Lowell confirmed their employment status Monday evening.

The two were stopped and detained at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego on Sept. 15, but officials would not say what they may have been carrying.

“The case involves an ongoing investigation into suspected illegal contraband,” ICE spokeswoman Lori K. Haley wrote in an e-mail.

“The contraband was seized on Sept. 15, 2009, when the officers were stopped at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.”

Illegal contraband can take many forms, including illegal drugs, prescription medications, cigarettes, electronics and wildlife, according to the ICE Web site.

Limon, 34, and McDow, 31, were introduced to the City Council as new employees by then-police Chief Jim Gardiner on June 18, 2002. McDow was a dispatcher and has become a police officer. Limon was introduced as a new officer at that meeting.

Lowell responded to inquiries from The Tribune on their status.

“Please be advised that officers Limon and McDow are on paid administrative leave and have been since Sept. 16, 2009, the day the City learned of their detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Lowell wrote in an e-mail.