A felony suspect who tipped the scale at more than 500 pounds carried an unloaded 9mm pistol into city and county jails beneath flabs of his skin even though law enforcement officers repeatedly searched him, authorities said on Thursday.
George Vera, 25, was released on $10,000 bail after being charged with possessing or selling unlabeled recordings and possession of a firearm in a correctional facility. Harris County District Attorney's spokeswoman Donna Hawkins said both charges are third-degree felonies, punishable by two to 10 years in prison upon conviction.
Police arrested Vera on Sunday after he was spotted selling apparently bootlegged compact discs out of the back of a sport utility vehicle parked at Hollister and Pitner, Hawkins said.
Police spokesman Victor Senties said Vera was searched three times by police personnel: once at the scene, again, more thoroughly, when he arrived at the city jail, and a final time before he was transferred to the Harris County Jail. Vera was subjected to an additional search at the county lockup.
City and county law enforcement spokespeople said inmates at both the city and county jails are not required to pass through a metal detector or undergo wand searches.
Vera's possession of the firearm came to light Monday when he approached a county guard during a shower break and admitted having smuggled the weapon, authorities said.
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