IONE — Mule Creek State Prison’s warden is on administrative leave during an investigation.
Joe Lizarraga has carried the Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics, been in corrections in various capacities since 1996 and was named “Warden of the Year” by the California Prison Industries Authority in 2017.
On Tuesday, FOX40 went to Lizarraga’s home to get his side of why he was under investigation and not in his office at Mule Creek State Prison.
“No, I was just looking at that,” he told FOX40. “I don’t know anything about … ”
A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would only confirm that the warden is on administrative time off, the equivalent of paid administrative leave, during the ongoing investigation. She referred to the situation as a “personnel matter.”
But the Ledger Dispatch reports Lizarraga’s computer was confiscated by the FBI and he was escorted off the Ione facility he’s been in charge of since 2013.
“I wasn’t walked off,” he told FOX40.
FOX40 contacted the FBI but they could not confirm or deny an investigation.
The only additional information offered by CDCR is that administrative duties at Mule Creek are being overseen by CDCR leadership while the investigation is being conducted.