Former Willacy County prison guard sentenced to 18 months in prison

A former Willacy County prison guard has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for bribery, reports CBS 4 News.

Harry Cordero, a former guard at the Willacy County Regional Detention Center, was charged last November with two counts of bribery and one count of providing contraband in prison. Cordero accepted bribes to allow alcohol and a cell phone into the prison in December of 2015. Following the conviction, Cordero was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Cordero and another inmate, Stephen Salinas, were both guards at the Willacy County Detention Center, which is operated by the Utah-based private prison company Management and Training Corporation. The men were employed at the facility before it was closed in 2015, when it was destroyed in a prisoner uprising. Prisoners had received poor medical attention and neglect, which led to the uprising.

The Willacy County facility lost its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in  2011 following multiple physical and sexual assaults by the guards on the prisoners. The facility then had a contract with the U.S. Marshals service until its destruction. Though the facility has been closed for years, in February Willacy County officials stated ICE was interested in reopening the facility following comments from President Trump around increased border security and immigration enforcement.