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Bexar County Jail Cracks Down On Security After Discovery Of Smuggled Cell Phones

Eileen Pace
TPR News
Secondary jail entrance where staff, contractors, and volunteers must now go through security checkpoint for admission to jail

There are only two entrances open to the Bexar County Jail after officials discovered several incidents of security violations involving cell phone use in secure areas of the jail. 

Sheriff Susan Pamerleau announced Thursday that one contractor had been arrested after jail officials learned he had brought cell phones into the jail.

"The individual was granted access to the jail to perform his job, but he abused that access by bringing in a cell phone and providing it to an inmate," Pamerleau said.

An alleged accomplice was also arrested, who officials believe was providing cell phones to the contractor to give to his brother, an inmate at the jail. Several inmates have been charged with possession of cell phone contraband.

Jail Administrator, Deputy Raul Banasco, said there is now only one single entrance and exit for the secure part of the jail.

"There had been a prior practice of (having) several areas coming in," Banasco said. "Now, everyone who enters the jail, whether they are a staff member, a visitor or a volunteer, or a vendor, will have to be fully screened. Every item will be scanned looking for any kind of contraband whether they be cell phone or tobacco."

Two detention officers were fired as a result of the investigation, which began last fall.

Pamerleau declined to say whether any of the cell phones brought to inmates had been used for illegal activity, pending final results of the investigation.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.