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Former Mexican Mafia General Turned Informant Receives $25,000 from GEO Group, 20 Years in Prison from Feds

by Matthew Clarke

After former Mexican Mafia general Raymond S. “Indio” Tellez agreed to testify against the gang, two gang members stabbed him multiple times in a secure area of a private prison operated by the GEO Group. He filed suit and, following a bench trial, received $25,000 in damages on July 31, 2017. Four months later, in November, he received 20 years in federal prison for racketeering.

Tellez was being held in an isolation cell in the medical unit of the GEO-run Central Texas Detention Center in San Antonio in October 2013 while he testified against members of the Texas Mexican Mafia. He had previously been a general in the gang with command over around 4,000 members. Because he had become a government informant, all gang members were under orders to kill him.

When Tellez was in restraints and taking a shower, two prisoners who were being held in administrative segregation due to their Mexican Mafia affiliation, Randy Gonzales and Roland Contreras, were taken to the main area of the medical unit. They were wearing handcuffs, leg shackles and a belly chain. Under GEO Group’s policy, they were to be strip searched before leaving segregation and pat searched upon arrival at medical, but GEO employees Victoriono Chavarria and Diana Corona failed to do so. They were also to remain in restraints in the medical unit; however, Nurse Mary Garcia released the cuff on one of Contreras’ hands while he was taking a foot soak.

GEO Group’s policy was for the doors to the housing areas in the medical unit to remain locked. Prison employee Candace Lundquist failed to do that. While Lundquist was in the women’s wing, the two gang members entered the men’s wing and located Tellez in the shower. Contreras then stabbed Tellez ten times with a homemade knife he had smuggled into the medical unit in his waistband, while Gonzales acted as a lookout. Tellez was stabbed in the chest, armpit, ribs, leg and back, though his injuries were not life threatening.

An internal investigation by GEO resulted in the termination of Chavarria, Lundquist and Garcia. Tellez filed a federal civil rights action against the company, and following a bench trial in which GEO was found “negligent in failing to implement policies and procedures,” he was awarded $15,000 for past physical pain, $5,000 for future physical pain and $5,000 for disfigurement. The court found he was not entitled to damages for mental anguish.

Tellez’s testimony against the Mexican Mafia helped him avoid the life sentence he was facing for his involvement in at least four homicides and racketeering. He pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge, and after testifying about unsolved murders and other gang-related crimes that occurred between 2010 and 2013, he was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison. Tellez, who filed his civil suit pro se, was later represented in the case by San Antonio attorney Carl R. Teague. See: Tellez v. The GEO Group, Inc., U.S.D.C. (W.D. Tex.), Case No. 5:15-cv-00465-RCL. 

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Related legal case

Tellez v. The GEO Group, Inc.