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Entries in Contraband (1)

Wednesday
Jul272011

Texas Jail Guard Guilty of Sneaking Hacksaw Blade in Taco

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(BEXAR COUNTY, Texas) -- A former Texas jail guard faces up to 20 years in prison for smuggling tacos packed with hacksaw blades to an inmate facing murder charges.

Alfred Casas, 31, was found guilty in a Bexar County courtroom on Tuesday of two counts of bribery and one count of providing an implement for escape. His sentencing hearings began Wednesday.

Casas testified in his defense, saying he thought the tacos were packed with chorizo and eggs, not blades, when he gave them to inmate Jacob Keller in 2009.

Keller's former girlfriend, Tiffany Contreras, testified during the trial that she put the blades in the tacos and gave them to Casas in a parking lot near the Bexar County Jail.

"I said here's the food. The bottom three have the blades and the two tacos on top don't have them," Contreras told jurors last week.

Contreras, 28, gave Casas black market Xanax in exchange for delivering the tacos.

Adriana Biggs said that Bexar County authorities discovered the contraband during a routine inspection of the inmates' cells.

"They had clothes that had been dyed to appear as though they were civilian clothes. They also found some sheets that had been tied like a rope...The inspection also revealed that some of the metal bars had been sawed through," Biggs said.

Three hacksaw blades were found, Biggs said. The items were uncovered in a series of cells and after talking to two inmates, they were given Keller's name. Keller revealed the name of his girlfriend, Contreras. Contreras ultimately admitted to the taco plot.

Biggs said that Contreras has not been charged with a crime despite her admission.

"Although she's exposed to criminal liability, Tiffany Contreras came and testified fully and we believe truthfully and we will take that in consideration," Biggs said. "At this time, I do not see us charging Tiffany Contreras."

The inmate, Keller, was not charged for accepting the contraband or conspiring to escape jail since he is already serving a 21-year prison sentence for double murder. The two other inmates, 34-year-old Edward Mertins and 43-year-old David Hallmon, were charged with conspiracy to commit an escape. They have not yet been tried, Biggs said.

Casas was arrested on Dec. 24, 2009 while on duty at the jail. Casas' defense team claimed that he was treated harshly when he was arrested and that led to a false confession.

Prosecutors said that Casas had developed an addiction to Xanax from a back problem and would do anything for the drug, including smuggling contraband to inmates.

This is the third conviction in two months in which a guard from the Bexar County jail has been found guilty of smuggling contraband to inmates through food. Earlier this week, a jail guard was found guilty of smuggling a cell phone in a pack of Ramen Noodles, the San Antonio Express News reported. Two months ago, another guard was found guilty of smuggling heroin in barbacoa tacos, the paper reported.

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