Guard at Federal Transfer Center charged with taking bribes to smuggle drugs

Ponca City Now - September 6, 2018 9:37 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gabriel Ortiz, 36, of Oklahoma City, has been charged with taking bribes while serving as a Correctional Officer at the Federal Transfer Center.

According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed in federal court on Wednesday,Sept. 5, 2018, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General learned on Aug. 23, 2018, that Ortiz may have been smuggling marijuana and tobacco into the Federal Transfer Center, a Bureau of Prisons facility in Oklahoma City.  The affidavit alleges that emails between inmates and their associates referenced sending Western Union wire transfers to an individual associated with Ortiz.

The affidavit further explains that undercover investigators with DOJ-OIG and the Fort Worth Police Department contacted Ortiz and confirmed his willingness to deliver contraband to a Federal Transfer Center inmate.  On Sept. 3, 2018, according to the criminal complaint, Ortiz delivered to that inmate 20 strips that later tested positive for amphetamines in exchange for $1,000 via Walmart-to-Walmart transfer.  According to the complaint, the next day, when Ortiz had not received payment for delivering contraband to the inmate, he texted an undercover officer that “if things don’t get squared away by this evening I’m gonna have to put the word out that he has a debt and it won’t be good for him.”

Federal law enforcement arrested Ortiz on Sept. 4, 2018.  He made his initial appearance on Sept. 5 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary M. Purcell.

If Ortiz were to be convicted of bribery, he could be imprisoned for up to 15 years, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and fined up to $250,000.

These charges are the result of an investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, and the Fort Worth Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica L. Perry is prosecuting the case.

The public is reminded that this charge is merely an allegation and that Ortiz is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


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