HOUSTON – A former detention officer was arrested and charged with smuggling tobacco into the Harris County Jail, according to the sheriff’s department.
Gertrudis A. Reyes, 21, is accused of bringing tobacco to an inmate while working as a detention officer. He was charged last week with the felony of “prohibited item in a correctional facility.”
Reyes resigned from his job as he was under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office of Inspector General.
The Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation after suspecting Reyes was delivering tobacco, drugs, cell phones and other contraband into the 1200 Baker Street Jail.
Investigators questioned Reyes on February 5, during which time he admitted that he had been delivering items to the jail on behalf of, and orchestrated by, inmate Gregory Skero.
Reyes allegedly said that on three separate occasions, he picked up contraband from “drop” locations at two different Church’s Chicken restaurants, then smuggled the items into the jail in exchange for cash in November and December of 2013.
Reyes said each time he arranged the delivery, he dialed *67 to block his number and never knew the person he was calling. Each drop occurred after his work shift either in the late evening or early-morning hours. He instructed the person dropping the package to place it at a certain spot behind the restaurant and leave, then watched from a distance to make sure they were gone before he picked up the goods, according to documents.
Reyes said he would inspect each package at his home, and believed that he only was delivering tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia to the jail. H said he did not know if there were any drugs, cell phones or other electronics in the packages.
Reyes said he would bring the packages into jail the next day, concealed in his duffel bag or lunch box, then drop it into a trash can. Inmate Skero would then remove the items from the trash and distribute them to other inmates.
Reyes was hired in March 2013. He was booked into the same jail system in which he had been employed, but has since been released on $5,000 bail.
Also, in a separate incident last week, a detention officer arriving for a work shift was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Investigators said it was part of a scheme to pass illegally obtained prescription painkillers to an inmate or inmates. That employee was fired after his arrest, HCSO officials said.