FBI Provides New Details in Ector County Correctional Center Bribery Case

By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

New information on the investigation that charged 13 former Ector County Correctional Center (ECCC) employees with bribery.

$100 for a pack of cigarettes, another $100 for some marijuana. This how much 13 former employees at the ECCC allegedly charged inmates to smuggle goods into the prison for them.

The investigation was spearheaded by the FBI.

"We've been pursuing this investigation for the past 15 months," Lamar Pruit with the FBI, said.

According to the indictments that were recently unsealed, one bribe occurred this past December.

Pruit says handling corruption is an important part of their job.

"The bureau pursues all types of investigations, especially as it involves corruption with federal correctional facilities," she said.

The 13 alleged smugglers were indicted by a Grand Jury earlier this month and arraigned on Wednesday.

Jessica Smith, a former guard, was paid $50 by one inmate for Lortab painkillers. While Nancy Morales, was paid $700, just for a cell phone and a charger.

Pruit said their agency was aided in the investigation by Odessa Police Department and the Ector County Sheriff's office. Although the correctional center is in Ector County, it is a federal facility.

"In no way does the county have any responsibility for that facility," Pruit said.

At Wednesday's arraignment, Judge Counts told three of the 13 alleged smugglers they were not to have any contact with any ECCC employees past or present.

They will be in court again next Thursday.