EMPLOYEE at Tulsa Jail arrested on drug, firearms counts

Saturday, August 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors have filed drug charges against a jailer at the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center for allegedly delivering simulated narcotics to an inmate and illegally possessing a firearm that allegedly was also meant for the prisoner.

Edwin M. Vasquez, 47, was charged with attempting to distribute less than 50 grams of a substance that appeared to be methamphetamine as well as possessing a firearm that was not registered to him.

Corrections Corporation of America, a private company that operates the Tulsa jail, fired Vasquez on Friday, spokesman Chris Howard said.

A U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms affidavit states that two undercover ATF agents acting on a tip from a confidential informant met with Vasquez July 19 at a Tulsa apartment. Vasquez allegedly claimed that he had smuggled methamphetamine and cocaine into the jail on previous occasions.

The agents purportedly paid Vasquez $40 the next day to deliver one gram of a substance they presented as methamphetamine to a cooperating inmate inside the jail. The affidavit says the substance was delivered two days later.

On July 24, the agents allegedly met with Vasquez and presented him with 10 more grams of simulated ``crank'' intended for the same prisoner. Four days later, seven of the 10 grams were retrieved from the inmate.

The affidavit alleges that during a Thursday night meeting with an undercover ATF agent at a hotel, Vasquez agreed to deliver a .22-caliber ``pen gun'' to the same inmate for $200.

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

Howard said jail authorities have been aware of the undercover investigation for two weeks.

Vasquez has worked at the jail since Jan. 1 and had been disciplined for attendance problems but not for anything similar to these allegations, Howard said.

An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and FBI background check, conducted before Vasquez was hired, showed no criminal record, he said. Assistant Federal Public Defender Jack Schisler also said Vasquez's record is clean.

U.S. Magistrate Claire Eagan granted Schisler's request that Vasquez be put in protective custody while jailed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Faerber said the drug charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison upon conviction, while the gun charge could mean 10 years in custody. Faerber said he anticipates presenting the case to a federal grand jury next week.