TDCJ jailers accused of smuggling cell phones & drugs to inmates

TDCJ McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas // Google Maps Image

Thirteen jailers, including one from the Rio Grande Valley, are facing criminal charges after being accused of taking bribes to smuggle cell phones and drugs to inmates at a state prison in Beeville.

It all happened at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) McConnell Unit in Beeville.

A federal grand jury in Corpus Christi indicted the 13 TDCJ guards and 19 others on racketeering charges last Thursday.

According to the 23-page indictment, the scheme dated back to February 2006.

Prosecutors allege that inmates were able to use cell phones and receive cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines while behind bars.

The case had been sealed but records were released on Tuesday after several defendants appeared in different federal courts in South Texas.

Court records show that there are 13 jail guards, four middlemen, two inmates and 13 others accused of participating in the scheme.

Brownsville resident Oscar Juraidini was listed among the 13 jail guards named in the indictment.

U.S. Immigration & Customs (ICE) agents arrested Juraidini on Monday.

Records show Juraidini worked as a jailer at the McConnell Unit back in December 2012 and participated in the bribery scheme.

Juraidini appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio in Brownsville on Tuesday morning where he now faces extradition to Corpus Christi.

Both TDCJ and federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office are expected to release more information at a press conference on Wednesday.