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Three Texas Prison Guards Among 13 Charged in Sprawling Smuggling Scheme

On December 19, 2023, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas provided details about a sealed indictment filed in federal court there the previous month, naming three defendants accused of abusing their positions as prison guards with the state Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in a smuggling scheme.

Guard Anival Ruiz Porras, 41, was taken into custody after a February 2023 traffic stop in Wichita Falls, during which a K-9 dog found over two pounds of “wet fentanyl” paper in his vehicle. He was reportedly so deeply involved in the scheme that his alleged co-conspirators had bestowed on him a gang moniker: “Tall Guy.”

Another guard, Osazuwa Williams, 48, was arrested in May 2023 by Wichita Falls cops who found him with over a pound of meth and seven cell phones allegedly bound for the James Allred Unit where he worked, along with $6,500 in cash that he had allegedly accepted to mule the contraband inside. A third guard, Ryan Ty Melchor, 26, was also charged in the scheme, though it was unclear whether or when he was arrested.

Three state prisoners were charged, including Juan Francisco “Joker” Munoz, who allegedly ran the operation from the cell where he is serving 35 years for murder. Also named were prisoners Paul “Salute” Govea, 36, who is almost halfway through a 40-year term for theft and drug crimes, and Verndale Ray Seals, 34, who is serving over 20 years for burglary and robbery.

The indictment also named seven unincarcerated co-conspirators, including alleged drug kingpin Osama Mohammed Elwan, 32. Charged with him was Rosa Teromina Miller, 43, who allegedly moved over $333,000 in proceeds from the operation using peer-to-peer systems like CashApp. Others charged were Amber Tanae Huey, 34, Aida Gerardina Gomez Ortiz, 32, Daniel Guadalupe Flores, 30, Ashley Arriaga, 35, and Melissa Amador, 28. See: United States v. Williams, USDC (W.D. Tex.), Case No. 5:23-cr-00306.  


Additional sources: KFDX/KJTL, KXAN

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