Indictment Unsealed Charging Three with Conspiracy and Bribery to Smuggle Cell Phones into Private Federal Prison
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – An indictment was unsealed Wednesday charging CHARLES DANIEL LYNN, 34, of El Reno, Oklahoma; ARMANDO TABARES, 30, of Mission, Texas; and JOSE TOMAS CASTILLO-GARZA, 39, currently an inmate in United States Bureau of Prisons custody, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bribery, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
On August 16, 2017, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging that Lynn was a correctional officer at Great Plains Correctional Facility, a Federal Bureau of Prisons-contracted low-security facility in Hinton, Oklahoma. Great Plains houses over 1,800 federal inmates.
The indictment alleges that in the summer or early fall of 2016, inmate Castillo-Garza asked Lynn to smuggle cell phones into the facility. Lynn and Castillo-Garza allegedly agreed that Lynn would be paid thousands of dollars by wire transfer in exchange for his smuggling of cell phones and other contraband into the facility. The indictment further alleges Castillo-Garza arranged with Lynn to have Castillo-Garza’s brother-in-law, Tabares, send wire transfers and contraband to Lynn.
According to the indictment, Castillo-Garza and/or other inmates working with him threatened another inmate’s safety to secure that inmate’s promise to arrange for money to be wired to Lynn outside the facility. Castillo-Garza is alleged to have coordinated with another inmate to have additional funds sent to Lynn. In total, approximately $7,750.00 was sent to Lynn as bribes to smuggle contraband into the facility, according to the indictment.
The indictment states that Tabares and Lynn communicated about the types of contraband to be smuggled and that Tabares purchased the materials and sent approximately 8-9 packages to Lynn between October and December 2016. After Lynn received the packages, he smuggled the items, including cell phones, into the facility and delivered the items to Castillo-Garza, according to the indictment. It is also alleged that Lynn escorted Castillo-Garza to various parts of the facility to distribute the contraband to other inmates.
Count 1 charges all three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, defendants each face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. Count 2 charges Lynn with accepting a bribe as a public official, and Count 3 charges Castillo-Garza and Tabares with bribing a public official. If convicted on the bribery counts, each defendant faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine.
The public is reminded these charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Reference is made to court filings for further information.
This case is the result of a joint investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney K. McKenzie Anderson.