3 Former Hidalgo Co. Jail Employees Plead Not Guilty to Bribery Charges

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MCALLEN – Three former East Hidalgo County Detention Center employees facing federal charges appeared before a judge Wednesday.

Jason Catalan, Erasmo Loya and Veronica Ortega are all accused of bribery.

Catalan is accused of smuggling food contraband to inmates during the first six months of this year.

According to court documents, there were between 10 to 12 occurrences where Catalan met with several inmates' family members, where they would provide food to him for money to give to the inmates.

Loya is accused of smuggling marijuana and food contraband to inmates for more than two years. He would allegedly meet with inmates' family members to outside of the detention center to receive the contraband and smuggle it into the facility.

Ortega is also facing a charge for smuggling marijuana to inmates in April. She was paid more than $700 in total, according to court records.

All three plead not guilty in front of a U.S. magistrate and each were given a $30,000 bond.

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