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Texas Guard Gets 18 Months for Smuggled Phone-Linked Watches

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BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) — A former guard at a federal prison in Southeast Texas must serve 18 months behind bars for smuggling cellphone-capable watches to inmates.

Anqunett Vernetta Lewis of Houston was sentenced Monday in Beaumont. The 34-year-old Lewis in March pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official.

Prosecutors say Lewis was working at the Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, during 2015 and 2016, when she was paid to smuggle watches with cellular capabilities into the lockup.

Inmates are barred from having phones, watches or other devices that can be linked to cellular service.

Investigators say Lewis acknowledged smuggling numerous watches into the prison and was paid by inmates, or on their behalf, via wire transfer.

Lewis, who had faced up to five years in federal prison, must also forfeit $1,700.

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