TDCJ Guard Arrested on Federal Charges

HOUSTON—Alejandro Smith, 21, has been arrested following the filing of a criminal complaint alleging he knowingly and intentionally conspired to possess with heroin, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Smith, who was arrested yesterday, is a guard with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Institutional Division.

According to the complaint, in May 2011, FBI and Texas Rangers obtained information from a confidential source that Smith, a TDCJ Institutional Division guard at the Eastham Unit, was providing contraband to prisoners in the unit. In order to corroborate the information received, a sting operation was initiated that involved the use of a law enforcement undercover officer.

On June 1, 2011, a meeting was arranged in which the undercover officer was present when Smith picked up narcotics at a Target store parking lot, in Huntsville, Texas. Law enforcement personnel from the FBI, Texas Rangers, Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Huntsville Police Department, and the TDCJ Institutional Division - Office of Inspector General were involved in physical surveillance of the meeting, as well asjavascript:void(0) a Texas Department of Public Safety air surveillance team. According to the complaint, Smith was observed getting out of his vehicle and entering the passenger side compartment of the undercover vehicle. Once inside the truck, Smith was allegedly given a purple duffle bag containing a kilogram of heroin. Smith was arrested after he retrieved the bag and exited the undercover vehicle.

Smith is expected to appear in federal court in Houston on Friday, June 3, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy. The statutory punishment range for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin is no less than five and up to 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and Texas Rangers with the assistance of the aforementioned agencies.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.