Affidavit: Correctional officer at Eastham Unit in Lovelady took - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Affidavit: Correctional officer at Eastham Unit in Lovelady took bribe to smuggle tobacco

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Kevin Vallery (source: Houston County Jail) Kevin Vallery (source: Houston County Jail)

A 23-year-old former correctional officer at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Eastham Unit in Lovelady was arrested after he allegedly took a $600 bribe from a prisoner and attempted to smuggle two packets of smokeless tobacco to the man Wednesday.

Kevin Vallery was arrested at the TDCJ and charged with bribery, a second-degree felony, and prohibited substance in a correctional facility and transported to the Houston County Jail. He posted a $25,000 bail, and he was released from the jail Thursday.

According to the arrest affidavit, Office of the Inspector General investigators received word from the prison's administrators Wednesday that they were questioning one of their correctional officers they suspected of trying to deliver contraband to an inmate.

When the two OIG investigators arrived on the scene, TDCJ major at the unit explained that one of his lieutenants noticed that Vallery had what appeared to be a bulge in the back of his pants when he was walking inside the prison unit. When the lieutenant pulled Vallery aside to ask him about it, the correctional officer allegedly said he didn't have anything in his pants and denied having any contraband on him.

The lieutenant notified his superior of his suspicions, and Vallery was escorted to the warden's office, where Vallery was told to give up whatever he had. At that point, Vallery unbuckled his belt and removed a small bundle of tobacco from his pants.

When Vallery turned to walk out of the office, the TDCJ officials noticed a second bulge in his pants. After being told to remove all of the contraband in his possession, he pulled a second package of tobacco from his pants and handed it over.

During an interview with one of the OIG investigators, Vallery allegedly admitted the packages contained smokeless tobacco that he had bought at a convenience store in Huntsville that he was trying to smuggle inside the unit for one of the inmates. He said the inmate was going to pay him as soon as he brought the tobacco inside.

Later, the two OIG investigators conducted a search of Vallery's vehicle, where they found $600 in cash in the center console. Then they conducted a second interview of Vallery, and he admitted that he had received the money from the inmate earlier Wednesday morning in exchange for delivery of the tobacco.

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