CNHI News Service
— By CHRISTIN COYNE
A Parker County grand jury has indicted two former corrections officers, 11 former inmates and five others in a case involving allegations of bribery and providing contraband to those imprisoned at the former Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility.
According to indictments released to the public Thursday, Carl James Guittard, 36, and Terrie Elaine Glover, 49, both former corrections officers at the privately run facility housing Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, are each charged with bribery and providing, or possessing with intent to provide, tobacco to a person confined at the facility around Feb. 1.
The indictments allege at least 10 people offered or conferred money on a prepaid debit card to Guittard, Glover or both.
All suspects were charged with providing, or possessing with intent to provide, tobacco to a person confined at the facility, in addition to any bribery charges.
It’s not common for state prosecutors to pursue bribery and contraband cases with as many defendants with ties to each other as the recent indictments, according to special prosecutor Mark Mullin.
“This is a lot of folks,” Mullin said. “You know we’ve seen it before but we don’t deal with it very often and not this many of them.”
Investigators reportedly began receiving information about the issue around the beginning of the year from various sources.
“It was a pretty extensive investigation with all the people involved,” Mullin said of the several-month investigation.
“I’m very familiar with contraband cases because of the units that I handle but I knew this one was problematic,” Mullin said adding that, although there have been a high number of contraband cases, he’s not aware of any other case at the prison unit involving a network of as many people.
A spokesman for the TDCJ’s Office of Inspector General was not available to respond to questions Friday, according to the OIG office, which investigated the case.
The Democrat left a message for a corporate spokeswoman with the Corrections Corporation of America, the facility’s operator at the time, but was unable to reach anyone for comment by deadline.
It was not clear whether any of those indicted had been arrested or were in custody Friday.
The Democrat was unable to obtain information on the current status of Guittard and Glover’s jailer licenses as the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement was scheduled to be closed for eight business days for the holidays.
The contraband issue, with banned items ranging from cell phones to illegal substances, may have helped lead to the 2,100-bed facility’s closure earlier this year.
The facility faced the chopping block repeatedly in recent years, with some legislators citing contraband issues at the facility, which was originally part of a U.S. military base at the site and later purchased and renovated to become a minimum-security prison operated by CCA.
While cutting TDCJ’s funding by more than $97 million over the course of two years, the Legislature left it up to TDCJ to decide which prisons would be affected.
Citing capacity needs, safety and security issues, the design of the facilities and other factors, TDCJ opted not renew CCA’s contract to operate the Mineral Wells facility and the Dawson State Jail in Dallas.
Though the facility permanently closed July 30, Parker County grand juries have returned dozens of other indictments in recent months involving allegations of illegal contraband at the facility over the past several years.
Others indicted last week on felony charges in connection with the bribery investigation include Michael Adair, Dustin Baker, Amber Barker, Humberto Cavazos, Mark Edward Covington, Maria Hernandez, Keith Looney, Starr Madison, Gabriela Magdaleno, Walter Eugene Merideth Jr., Christopher Reid, Michael Revell, Aaron Slagle, Carolyn Tune and Laurence Cantwell.