Texas Prison Chaplain Sentenced To Prison For Smuggling

BEAUMONT (AP) – Authorities say a Southeast Texas prison chaplain who smuggled tobacco and cigarettes to federal inmates must serve a year and a day behind bars.

Eric S. Patrick of Nederland was sentenced Tuesday by a federal judge in Beaumont. The 43-year-old Patrick in January pleaded guilty, in a plea deal, to bribery of a public official.

Guards in July 2015 confiscated two gallon-size bags of tobacco and rolling papers from some inmates at a federal lockup in Beaumont. Investigators determined that Patrick, who was employed by the prison, was smuggling the contraband.

Officials say Patrick charged inmates $1,500 per smuggling attempt. The chaplain set up several scam post office boxes to receive payments, along with money transfers.

Authorities say Patrick had faced a possible 15-year prison term.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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