Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Phone System Check-up Leads To Contraband Charges For Bowie Jailer

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TEXARKANA, Texas–A former Bowie County correctional officer, an inmate and the inmate’s girlfriend are facing felony charges after maintenance work on the phone system allegedly exposed a scheme to bring contraband into the downtown Texarkana jail.

Zachary Isbell’s alleged agreement to bring prohibited items into the detention center was discovered June 5 during work to resolve a technical issue with the phone system, according to a probable cause affidavit. The phone system provider, Correct Solutions Group, allegedly overheard a recording of Isbell speaking with inmate Jason Obenosky, 42, about delivering contraband while Isbell, 25, was outside the jail with Obenosky’s girlfriend, 40-year-old Sara Power.

The phone company brought the conversation to the attention of the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office on June 5 along with a timeline related to the call that enabled investigators to pair the recorded conversation to video footage recorded outside the jail.

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Video allegedly showed Isbell outside the jail annex, located adjacent to the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana, on June 3, speaking to a woman–later identified as Power–speaking to Isbell by the woman’s car. In the video, Isbell takes Power’s cell phone and has a conversation with Obenosky which was recorded via the jail’s phone system.

On the call, “it is apparent that C.O. Isbell has previously delivered contraband and is reluctant to complete the [delivery] discussed on this date,” the affidavit said.

Obenosky reminds him that he has already been paid and C.O. Isbell states that he would return the money,” the affidavit said. “After repeated threats by Obenoskey to report C.O. Isbell, Isbell agreed to deliver the contraband the following morning [June 4].”

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Isbell and Power have both been released from the Bowie County jail on $30,000 bonds.

Obenoskey is being held on a controlled substances case that his bond was previously revoked in and bond on the new charge is set at $30,000.

The current charges have not been presented to a Bowie County grand jury for indictment. In other recent cases involving jailers who allegedly brought inmates items they are forbidden to have in jail, grand juries have leveled charges including bribery.

If convicted of bringing prohibited items into a correctional facility, Isbell, Obenosky and Power face two to ten years in a Texas prison.

All three defendants’ cases have been assigned to 5th District Judge Bill Miller’s Bowie County docket.

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