Joel Gonzalez, a former U.S. Bureau of Prisons correctional officer, and Lisa Gonzalez, his wife, both admitted to accepting bribes from the family of an inmate in exchange for introducing contraband into the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Three Rivers, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Joel Gonzalez said that from December 2012 through April 2014, he made arrangements to smuggle tobacco and other contraband into the FCI for an inmate in exchange for the cash bribes.
His wife said she assisted him in arranging times and locations for receiving the contraband and bribe payments. She also traveled with him from their residence in Beeville to Laredo in order to accept the contraband. Joel Gonzalez would then take the items into the correctional facility on his body.
The investigation further revealed Lisa Gonzalez was employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice during the orchestration of this scheme.
Sentencing has been set for Nov. 19, 2014. They were permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice-Office of the Inspector General and the FBI with assistance from Customs and Border Protection, Beeville Police Department and the Texas Rangers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Patterson is prosecuting.
Beeville Police Chief Joe Treviño confirmed that his officers were contacted by federal investigators asking for assistance in the case.
The chief said detectives and some patrol officers provided that assistance.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.