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CEC/CiviGenics Guard Charged with Smuggling Cell Phone

A CEC/CiviGenics Guard at Odessa's Ector County Correctional Center has been charged with smuggling cell phones into the west Texas facility, according to an article at OAOA.com ("Odessa guard accused of smuggling," December 9, 2008).

A guard working at the Ector County Correctional Center became the latest person accused in Texas of smuggling cell phones for jail inmates, an assistant U.S. attorney said.

John Klassen, a prosecutor with the Western District of Texas in Midland, said Odessan Andrew Allen Zehr, 23, was given a federal charge of bribery. He's accused of taking $150 to smuggle the cell phone and was also accused of smuggling two or three "baggies" of marijuana at $100 a pop since late October. Zehr was apprehended by DEA agents Tuesday afternoon and was in the process of being booked into the Midland County Jail at press time.

Klassen withheld the name of the prisoner that he said offered the bribes pending a further investigation, but said he was a federal inmate, and therefore the bribery charge Zehr had was also federal.

This arrest came as state prison officials were looking into several cell phone smuggling cases throughout Texas.

See Nick's previous coverage of the Ector County facility, where the suicide of 21 year-old immigrant committed suicide last year while being held on an illegal entry charge.