Last defendants in prison smuggling ring sentenced

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Associated Press

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — The last of more than two dozen people convicted of participating in a racketeering and smuggling ring that slipped drugs and cellphones to inmates at a South Texas prison have been sentenced to federal prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head in Corpus Christi sentenced four people identified as "facilitators" in the ring that also included some corrections officers at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice McConnell Unit in Beeville.

Those sentenced Monday all pleaded guilty. They include 29-year-old Melissa Lozano, of San Antonio, who received 15 months in prison; 29-year-old Craig Owens, of Killeen, sentenced to five years; 26-year-old Karla Sanchez, of Houston, who received two years; and 33-year-old Christopher Owens, of Killeen, who got more than 12 years.

The four-year investigation involved Bee County, state and federal authorities.

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