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A county jail guard was charged Thursday with smuggling marijuana to
Cameron County inmates after admitting to supplying prisoners with the
drug, county authorities said.

Robert Dalzell saw what it is like on the other side of wrought iron bars
Thursday night after Justice of the Peace Oscar Tullos reprimanded the
officer at his arraignment, and ordered him held under $25,000 bail.

"We are here to protect the inmates, and you are doing exactly what they
did to get in here," Tullos told Dalzell. "This is a serious crime."

Tullos traveled to the Cameron County Detention Facility in Olmito to
arraign Dalzell in a jail dining area.

The drug incident comes on the heals of three recent jail escapes and two
riots in the last six months at county jails run by the Sheriff's Department.

The former Rivera High School athlete faces up to 10 years in prison and
$10,000 in fines for apparently sneaking 1.25 pounds of marijuana into the
jail and distributing it to inmates.

Guards at the county jail apparently found the drugs in an inmate's cell
during a routine search Tuesday night, authorities said.

The inmate apparently told investigators that Dalzell had smuggled the
contraband inside prison walls in a plastic bag, officials said.

Sheriff Conrado Cantu said Dalzell admitted to the offense during
questioning the next day.

"I won't tolerate any of this activity in our jail," Cantu said Thursday.

Investigators, who continue to question guards and inmates, would not
reveal how Dalzell brought drugs into the prison.

Currently, supervisors search guards when they arrive at work each day.
Guards also undergo random drug tests, Cantu said.

Dalzell, a five-month county employee who played on Rivera's state
playoff-bound basketball team in 1998, apparently evaded those safety measures.

While safety reforms are currently in the works, Cantu did not indicate any
uniform revisions to jail policy Thursday.

According to county records, Dalzell worked as a security guard for
American Investigations in Brownsville for two years before joining the
county law enforcement agency.

Pubdate: Sat, 19 Oct 2002
Source: Brownsville Herald, The (TX)
Copyright: 2002 The Brownsville Herald
Contact: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/sections/contact/contact.shtml
Website: Brownsville Herald
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