United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2009 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881
PRISON GUARDS INDICTED IN BEAUMONT
(BEAUMONT, TX) United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that two prison guards have been indicted in two separate cases of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
LATONIA PETE, 29, of Beaumont, was indicted today and charged with receiving a bribe and engaging in a sexual act with a person in her custody.
According to prosecutors, Pete was a guard at the GEO correctional facility in downtown Beaumont, which houses federal prisoners. In April 2008, Pete is alleged to have received a $250 bribe from a federal prisoner housed at the GEO. In Aug. 2008, Pete is alleged to have had sexual contact with that same federal prisoner at the GEO.
If convicted, Pete could receive up to 15 years in federal prison on both counts.
In a separate case, PHANICI J. MERRICK, 22, of Beaumont, was indicted today and charged with providing contraband to an inmate and two counts of receiving a bribe.
According to prosecutors, Merrick was a guard at the GEO correctional facility in downtown Beaumont, which houses federal prisoners. In April 2008, Merrick is alleged to have received a $680 bribe and a $100 bribe from two separate inmates at the GEO facility. In Sept. 2008, Merrick is alleged to have provided tobacco to an inmate of the GEO facility.
If convicted, Merrick could receive up to 15 years in federal prison for each of the bribery charges and up to 6 months in federal prison for the contraband charge.
Both of these cases are being investigated by the United States Marshals Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David H. Henderson.
It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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