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Former East Hidalgo Detention Center employee pleads guilty to sexually abusing inmate

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Tuesday, May 26 2020 May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020 2:11 PM May 26, 2020 in News - Local

A former cook supervisor at the East Hidalgo Detention Center pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing an inmate.

Brenda Alicia Fuentes, 48, of Weslaco pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon during a videoconference with her attorney, a federal prosecutor and U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez.

"She felt like she made a mistake," said attorney Rudy Moreno of McAllen, who represents Fuentes. "She's remorseful about it and hopes to move on."

Fuentes worked at the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa, which holds inmates for the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The 1,300-bed jail is owned by The GEO Group, a private prison company based in Boca Raton, Florida.

A grand jury indicted Fuentes in November 2019.

Prosecutors determined that Fuentes performed oral sex on a male inmate in 2018, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Lynn Greenbaum, who represented the government on Tuesday. During the hearing, Fuentes admitted to performing oral sex on the inmate.

Along with Fuentes, the grand jury indicted four guards and a medical assistant. They’re accused of providing inmates with contraband in exchange for cash.

A grand jury also indicted her daughter, former Correctional Officer Amber Marie Estrada, in March. Estrada is accused of providing inmates with contraband in exchange for cash — and a horse.

Fuentes is scheduled for sentencing in August. She faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.

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