• 64°

Federal prison escapees plead guilty

Special to The News

BEAUMONT — Two federal inmates pleaded guilty this week to escape from a Bureau of Prisons facility in the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said Thursday.

Arnold Troy Crayton, 37, of Fort Worth, and Clemente Valdez, Jr., 36, of Dallas, each pleaded guilty to escape in separate hearings Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, on Jan. 12 the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen near the Bureau of Prison Camp Facility in western Jefferson County reporting he had witnessed inmates crossing a pasture and getting picked up by a vehicle on Hillebrandt Road. A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled over the vehicle shortly afterwards and found Valdez and another escapee inside.

The inmates were transported back to the prison facility by law enforcement officers. Crayton returned to the facility on foot several hours later. A federal grand jury indicted all three inmates Feb. 6.

“We will continue to prosecute these inmates for any escape from federal detention facilities, whether it is a ‘walk-away’ or not,” Brown said. “What the inmates and their families need to understand is that anyone who helps in the escapes — drives a vehicle, provides a cell phone, takes any part in it — will also face federal charges. We are serious about stopping these violations.”

Crayton was sentenced to five years in federal prison in 2014 for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He has prior felony convictions for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and has been in a federal prison facility since 2002.

Valdez was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison in 2012 for conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Valdez was also convicted of marijuana trafficking in 2003 and served state prison time in North Carolina for that offense.

Under federal statutes, Crayton and Valdez each face up to an additional five years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the court will determine sentencing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. The U.S. Probation Office will complete a presentence investigation and sentencing will follow.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, FBI and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigated and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston prosecuted.