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Feds charge two Texas corrections officers with smuggling meth into county jail

July 28, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds charge two Texas corrections officers with smuggling meth into county jail

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Two former Texas corrections officers at the Bexar County Detention Center were taken into custody this week after they were accused of smuggling meth into the jail.

On Wednesday, Gabriel Robert Ortiz, 29, and 26-year-old Ruben Hernandez were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including conspiring to possess with intent to distribute meth, according to MySA.com.

Ortiz has also been charged with three counts of attempted possession of meth with intent to distribute, while Hernandez has been separately charged with attempted possession.

The smuggling conspiracy lasted for roughly a month, between May and June, and the arrests were the outcome of a sting operation, officials announced at a press conference led by U.S. Attorney John Bash; Christopher Combs, FBI special agent in charge in San Antonio; and Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Bexar County deputy Gabriel Ortiz

The arrests took place as officials have noticed an uptick in the number of incidents involving jail staff.

The sting occurred the same day that another probationary jailer, 35-year-old Libmar Rodriguez, as taken into custody by San Antonio officers for DWI.

Salazar announced at Thursday’s press conference that despite what might seem to the public like a pattern of misconduct, most of the 1,500 deputies he manages do good work.

“Today, they came to work and did their jobs the way they should — with honor and distinction, just like they do every day,” Salazar stated. “We’ve brought in over 250 new cadets since I took over last January (2017). So in the great scheme of things, it’s few (accused of wrongdoing), but I can tell you one is too many.”

Bexar County deputy Ruben Hernandez

Both of the men indicted had been hired last year and were probationary officers when they were terminated in June.

The two were freed on $50,000 unsecured bonds each after an appearance in federal court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer required the two to avoid contact with each other and told Ortiz to refrain from drinking alcohol and to undergo random testing.

Hernandez was ordered not to drink too much as part of the terms of his bond.

The men were appointed attorneys, and their arraignments have been scheduled for August 7th.

Bash, Combs, and Salazar released little details about the probe. The sheriff’s office approached the FBI with the issue, and the agency opened a public corruption investigation that is continuing.

Combs praised Salazar and his administration for bringing the case to an FBI-led task force, which is made up of authorities from area agencies.

Last year, Rita Alvarez, an 11-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was taken into custody on state charges of participating in organized crime.

Salazar said that she collected the drug debts on behalf of inmate Cristobal Perez.

The cash was then deposited into Perez’s commissary account, allegedly by a third party.

Salazar noted that his office will remain vigilant.

“With every one of these that occurs, you hope it’s the last one, but you know that it probably won’t be,” Salazar said. “That’s why it’s incumbent upon us, and with my partners, to hold people accountable, criminally and administratively every time.”

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