Former Smith County jailer, inmates charged with engaging in organized crime

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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A former Smith County jailer has been charged with offenses related to smuggling contraband into the jail, along with eight inmates.

Lance Emmett Watson, a former detention officer, has been charged with engaging in criminal activity, as have inmates Jose Medrano-Clarke, Angel Torres, Joshua Bates, Alex Arnold, James Brunelle, and Tommy Allen.

Inmates Cody Wallace and Cayman Marshall have been charged with possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility.

All are in the Smith County Jail on bonds of $250,000 each except Watson, who is being held in a jail facility outside Smith County.

The charges are the result of an investigation that began back in March.

In early March, Smith County narcotics investigators received information alleging that illegal contraband was being brought into the jail. The information said Watson was bringing the contraband into the jail and delivering it to various inmates.

Investigators conducted a “shakedown” of certain inmate pods in the jail and found “several items of contraband” and a concealed cellphone.

One evening, as Watson was scheduled to begin his shift, he was confronted and searched. In his lunchbox, investigators found several hamburgers with contraband hidden between the buns.

Watson was arrested and booked into the Gregg County Jail. At the time, his bond was set at $75,000.

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