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Harris Co. sheriff vows no ‘leniency’ for jailer accused of drug smuggling

By Jessica Willey

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    HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A detention officer has become the second person arrested in connection with smuggling illegal drugs into Harris County Jail, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Wednesday afternoon.

In October, investigators uncovered evidence that a detention officer was potentially selling drugs to people in the jail, Gonzalez said. A team then confirmed that the detention officer delivered K2 synthetic marijuana and marijuana to people in the jail. It’s believed he also delivered other illegal narcotics, and the investigation continues.

Detention officer Robert Robertson, 24, was arrested Wednesday morning as he reported for duty at the jail. Robertson was booked into jail with a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity with a second underlying felony of delivery of a prohibited substance into a correctional facility, Prosecutor Kimberly Smith said.

“For someone who we put that trust in to be engaging in this type of criminal activity, there are no words for it,” Smith said.

Robertson, who had been working with the agency for six years, was relieved of duty, Gonzalez said.

“No one, especially our own teammates, will be given leniency when it comes to actions that endanger the lives of those in our jail,” Gonzalez said.

The arrest is part of a broader investigation in response to a number of inmate overdoses, some deadly, this year and it comes more than a week after attorney Ronald Lewis was charged with two counts of prohibited substance in a correctional facility. The 77-year-old, who was seen on jail surveillance using a cane, was charged with providing inmates drug-laced papers since July.

He was arrested during a visit to the jail and found to have 11 sheets of paper believed to be soaked in drugs, according to Lt. J. Wheeler with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations and Security Division. Wheeler added that those papers would be tested to confirm.

In July, authorities said they received information from sources in the jail that Lewis was bringing in papers soaked in K2, PCP, and “Spice” when he visited inmates. From July to November, he visited 14 inmates who were not his clients.

Last week, another defense attorney was named in a search warrant that alleged she handed out drugged papers to a client. The attorney has not been charged, so ABC13 is not naming her.

And on Nov. 20, inmate Michael Barnett was charged with fentanyl murder by delivery. He is accused of selling fentanyl in the jail. Fellow inmate Christian Rayo died after snorting it, court records said.

Wednesday afternoon, Smith said there could be more charges but would not say if any of the arrests or cases were connected.

Robertson is expected in court Thursday morning, where a judge will set bond.

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