Ex-jailer in fake meth, brisket taco smuggling scheme sentenced to 3 years in prison

Gabriel Ortiz must surrender by April 5

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - A former jailer with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office who admitted last year to taking part in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the county jail has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Gabriel Ortiz, 30, will also serve three years of community supervision after being released and must pay a $100 special assessment.

He must surrender to authorities by April 5.

The sentence for Ortiz, who had no previous criminal record when he was arrested by the FBI last July, came below the 46- to 57-month range recommended as part of a presentence report.

Sheriff Javier Salazar released the following statement on Tuesday:

I am glad to see that justice was served in this case, and I am proud to have partnered with the FBI on this sting operation. As I’ve stated in the past officer misconduct will not be tolerated within my agency and I will do everything possible to hold them accountable criminally and administratively.

Ortiz and fellow jailer Ruben Hernandez were arrested last summer after investigators became aware of the smuggling operation in late 2017.

Ortiz "repeatedly named his price of $700 to smuggle a cell phone to inmates" to help pay off debts, according to federal court documents.

Federal agents then placed recording equipment inside the jail and months later, in April 2018, a cooperating inmate informed investigators that Ortiz had approached him offering to perform smuggling services in exchange for money.

Records show Ortiz then twice smuggled what he believed to be methamphetamine into the jail along with brisket tacos.

In May 2018 Ortiz brought Hernandez in on the operation.

According to court documents, Hernandez told a cooperating inmate that he and Ortiz would be willing to help smuggle drugs into the jail when the inmate got out of jail.

Ortiz and Hernandez then took part in another delivery of fake meth and tacos last June, according to records.

Hernandez, who signed off on a plea agreement late last year, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8.

He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Hernandez and Ortiz were part of the same BCSO academy class and were hired as probationary officers in July 2017.


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