Former prison guard receives 12 months and a day in federal prison in contraband scheme, officials say

Former Prison Guard Sentenced For Bribery Scheme

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A Cross County man who worked as a prison guard will spend 12 months and a day in federal prison after he smuggled tobacco and cell phones into the federal prison at Forrest City, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Josue Duane Garza, 42, of Wynne was sentenced in federal court in Little Rock in the case, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland said in a media release.

Garza was arrested after a 2018 investigation by authorities.

“In June 2018, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Arkansas informed prison officials that his family had been purchasing tobacco and cell phones and mailing them, along with cash, to Garza at a P.O. Box in Colt. The inmate reported that another inmate had started the scheme but had been transferred to another facility, leaving this inmate to take over the scheme,” Hiland said. “Both inmates confirmed that their parents had purchased tobacco and cell phones, mailed them to Garza’s P.O. Box, and included cash. The parents received money orders and cash from the inmates’ families, who were paying for the inmates’ purchases. The inmates said they split the proceeds with Garza.”

Garza, who pleaded guilty in Aug. 2019 to bribery of a public official, reportedly admitted during an interview with federal authorities that the scheme went on from Oct. 2017 to July 2018 and that he had received over $40,000.

In addition to the jail sentence, Garza also received one year supervised release in the case.

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