(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – A Willacy County Regional Detention Center (WCRDC) guard has been charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Christopher George Gonzalez, 29, of Harlingen, Texas, was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, and has been in federal custody pending a hearing held this morning. After today’s hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio, Gonzalez was ordered released upon posting $2500 of a $50,000 bond.
According to the criminal complaint, Gonzalez, a corrections officer at the WCRDC, having allegedly previously agreed with an undercover officer to deliver cocaine into the WCRDC, met with the undercover officer in a parking lot of a Harlingen business on Nov. 10, 2010. At that meeting, Gonzalez received two kilograms of sham-cocaine, which Gonzalez believed to be actual cocaine, and $2,000 to smuggle the cocaine – two ounces at a time – into the detention center.
The charge carries a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of forty years, a $5 million fine and five years of supervised release, upon conviction.
In addition to the bond, Judge Recio further ordered several additional conditions with which Gonzalez must abide including radio frequency (passive) monitoring, no travel outside Cameron County and no contact with or from anyone at or from the detention center (including other employees).
The Willacy County Regional Detention Center is a privately managed facility which houses inmates, including those with pending federal charges.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Leonard is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law.