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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Harris County jailer accused of smuggling booze, smokes to inmates

Dale Lezo, Houston Chronicle
Published 2:07 pm, Monday, April 14, 2014
  • Lauren N. Sandefer Photo: HCSO
    Lauren N. Sandefer Photo: HCSO

 

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A 25-year-old former guard found out what it was like on the other of the bars when she was arrested Monday for allegedly smuggling vodka and tobacco into the Harris County jail last year.

Lauren N. Sandefer, 25, is charged with bringing a prohibited item into a correctional facility, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Sandefer, who began working for HCSO in April 2013, allegedly took the booze and tobacco into the jail in September. She also let an inmate use her personal cellular phone, which violated regulations. She was fired in February 2014.

Deputies said Sandefer is the third former guard at the Harris County jail accused this year of delivering contraband to inmates.

"Anyone who commits a crime while guarding others accused of crimes will face the same brand of justice as the inmates," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. "Fortunately more than 99 percent of our employees are honest, diligent and hard-working."

Deputies said jail employees are no longer allowed to bring personal phones into the jail without special permission. Also, they can't bring heavy bags, such as backpacks, into the jail. Jail employees are randomly searched.