Former jail employee pleads guilty to smuggling substance into facility

Thursday, September 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A former Tulsa jail employee has paid a high price for trying to smuggle methamphetamine to an inmate for $40.

Edwin M. Vasquez pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of a three-count federal indictment. Vasquez, 47, worked for Corrections Corporation of America at the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center.

He successfully delivered what he thought was three grams of meth on July 20. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Faerber said the jailer actually distributed ``simulated'' meth after being caught in a sting operation.

The transaction is considered an ``attempt'' because real drugs were not actually involved, Faerber said.

After a tip, two undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms met with Vasquez July 19 at a Tulsa apartment, according to an affidavit. On the following day, the agents got Vasquez to deliver a substance they presented as methamphetamine to a cooperating inmate inside the jail.

The agents then reportedly met with Vasquez on July 24 and gave him 10 more grams of simulated ``crank'' that was intended for the same prisoner. Four days later, seven of the 10 grams were retrieved from the inmate.

According to the affidavit, during an Aug. 2 meeting with an undercover ATF agent at a hotel, Vasquez agreed to deliver a .22-caliber ``pen gun'' to the same inmate for $200.

The guard was arrested immediately after the money was given to him and while he was in possession of the weapon, the document indicates.

Officials with CCA, the private company that operates the Tulsa Jail, said Vasquez was fired the day he was arrested.

Faerber and Assistant Federal Public Defender Jack Schisler said Vasquez could face a prison term of between 30 and 37 months.

Vasquez is currently in protective custody at the Tulsa Jail, Schisler said.