A Willacy County Regional Detention Center guard went before a federal judge in Brownsville Monday on charges that he planned to smuggle more than 4 pounds of cocaine into the facility he guarded, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday.
A federal indictment shows that Christopher George Gonzalez, 29 of Harlingen, was arrested Nov. 10 following an undercover sting in Harlingen.
Prior to his arrest, Gonzalez had been under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Attorney's Office stated.
Records state that Gonzalez met an undercover Houston police officer at the Harlingen Lowes parking lot who had offered to pay Gonzalez $2,000 to smuggle drugs into the detention center. Gonzalez took the money and two wrapped bundles of what appeared to be cocaine and then left the parking lot, court records state.
According to his indictment, Gonzalez had agreed to smuggle two ounces of cocaine at a time into the detention center.
Gonzalez was later stopped by a DPS trooper, arrested and taken into federal custody, records show. He was released after his hearing Monday on a $50,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney's Office stated.
The Willacy County Regional Detention Center in Raymondville is a privately-run facility contracted by the U.S. Marshals Services to Management & Training Corporation, a contractor that manages private prisons throughout the country. The facility houses inmates with pending federal charges.
MTC operates two facilities in Raymondville. The Regional Detention Center is contracted by the U.S. Marshals Service and is 540 beds. That facility is dwarfed both in size and notoriety by the Willacy County Processing Center, MTC's Immigration and Customs Enforcement-contracted facility that has been dubbed "tent city" in the media because of 2,000 of its 3,000 beds are located in a series of Kevlar pods.