Unfortunately, it is a scenario that happens all too often: The girlfriend ends up in prison when she attempts to help her boyfriend by transporting drugs for him or lying to cover up his behaviors. But when the girlfriend is a deputy and the boyfriend is a county inmate, things get much more complicated and much worse, not just for the two of them but for the community at large.
In Bexar County, Texas, a female deputy assigned to the Bexar County Adult Detention Center was arrested for allegedly collecting drug debts on behalf of a county inmate and then sending him the money. Reportedly, the arrest affidavits note that she “loves him and that she would be there for him.”
In this case, it seems that “being there” for her boyfriend included approaching a female inmate about monies owed and then taking some of the cash for herself, according to investigators with the Narcotics/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Unit. The group made four arrests, including the deputy, in pursuit of more intel on a drug operation case they have been working. According to their reports, this is just one of many “errands” that the deputy ran on behalf of her boyfriend who was incarcerated for much of the time she was surveilled.
The deputy was put on unpaid leave and will likely lose her job, but the incident triggered an internal investigation at the sheriff’s office. An employee of the sheriff’s office for more than a decade, the community has been stunned by the news, and the sheriff’s office is attempting to determine how long the corruption has been happening and just how deep it goes.
Sheriff Javier Salazar says: “At this point I don’t have any direct indication that there’s anybody else involved. We will find out if that’s the case.”
Though he and his department took a “hands off” approach during the last four months while the investigation was ongoing and were cooperative with HIDTA without doing any digging that would cause suspicion, he says all that has changed now that the arrests have been made.
Says Salazar: “What we’re going to do is begin to work backwards, historically, and we want to find out when did they meet? How did they meet? What sort of interactions did they have outside of this facility?”
The next few months will be a slow unfolding as deputies look into who was doing what, where, when, why, and with whom. Meanwhile, the community has to process the fact that someone they trusted to protect them from drug dealers was colluding with those dealers and enabling their continued business even from behind bars. It is a hard fact to face, especially as law enforcement across the country are working to strengthen their bonds with the communities they serve and build trust, and in some cases, rebuild trust.
As difficult as it will be for this community in the coming months, rebuilding trust is part of the process in recovery. While it is unclear whether or not the deputy was using drugs as well or if her choices were purely based on her attachment to the inmate and/or finances, when drugs play a role in the problem, no one feels safe. Seeing the deputy be justly punished for her choices will help to empower this healing process, deterring other deputies from making similar choices, and helping the community at large to trust in the integrity of the organization.
Paying the Price
Most of this recovery process will happen without the input of the deputy in question. She, however, will pay a great price, as do all women who find themselves in this position. Especially if personal drug use plays a role, women who do time for working for their partner will have to address how they will function in recovery on their own. Learning how to trust oneself again and become truly independent is a big part of rehabilitation, and a focus for all women in recovery who were aided, abetted, and enabled by their partner.
If someone you love is living with addiction or making dangerous choices that indicate a serious problem with drugs or alcohol, don’t wait to step in and help them connect with treatment services that can help them find a new life in recovery.