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TEXARKANA, Texas —A former correctional officer and a former inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana were each sentenced last week to 46 months in federal prison.
James Thompson, 55, a former correctional officer, and Gilbert Gomez, 54, a former inmate, pleaded guilty in August.
Gomez and Thompson conspired to bring contraband such as cellphones and tobacco into the federal prison in Texarkana. The scheme began around August 2019 and continued until January.
"Each brought a unique — and necessary — contribution to the conspiracy: Mr. Thompson was a prison guard who had the ability to smuggle things into the facility; Mr. Gomez knew the inmates inside the facility and could operate as the inside man. With respect to their involvement in the conspiracy, Mr. Gomez and Mr. Thompson were thus substantially equal players," stated a sentencing memorandum filed in Gomez' case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok.
Thompson picked up cash payments and contraband including "tobacco, cellphones and other substances" from a post office box in Mount Pleasant, Texas, and smuggled it into the prison.
"In furtherance of that conspiracy, I received at my post office box multiple packages each week that were addressed to Bobby Brown and contained cash and prison contraband," Thompson's factual basis states.
"And instead of enforcing the law and protecting the staff and inmates at the institution, I then smuggled the contraband I had received into FCI Texarkana and gave it to Gomez for distribution to others. In total, I received at least $17,200 in bribe payments, $2,200 of which consisted of United States currency that agents seized from me at my home."
Thompson was ordered to forfeit $17,200 to the government at a sentencing hearing Thursday before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. He was represented by Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson.
Gomez' factual basis notes that he received at least $15,000 as part of the conspiracy. Gomez was ordered to forfeit that amount to the government at his sentencing hearing before Schroeder on Friday. He was represented by Texarkana lawyer Danny Cook.
Both defendants were free on unsecured appearance bonds at the time of their sentencings and both were ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their terms May 3.
Following release from prison, Thompson and Gomez will be supervised by federal officials for three years. Should either man violate the terms of his supervised release, he could be ordered to serve additional time behind bars.

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