Police: Former SC CO paid inmate to attack another prisoner
Ingrid Yolanda Ortiz-Montero was charged with two counts of misconduct in office and conspiracy to commit a crime
By David Travis Bland
LEXINGTON, S.C — A vendetta, a contraband cell phone and a payoff were part of an attack planned against an inmate by a former Lexington County Detention Center guard, according to state police affidavits.
On Friday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division charged 23-year-old Ingrid Yolanda Ortiz-Montero with two counts of misconduct in office and conspiracy to commit a crime after an 11 month investigation into the assault-for-hire scheme.
In October 2019, Ortiz-Montero provided inmates with a cell phone, charger and an Apple Watch to allow them to communicate with people outside the jail, according to police. She also gave inmates money through prison accounts using the pseudonym Jasmine Smith.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the county detention center, suspended Ortiz-Montero after inmates and coworkers reported that she’d dealt contraband and given money to inmates, police said.
“Once I determined potential criminal activity took place, I called in the State Law Enforcement Division, as is standard procedure,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in a statement. “We do that when a current or former employee is involved to ensure an unbiased and thorough investigation.”
In November 2019, Ortiz-Montero communicated with two inmates in the jail and arranged to pay at least one of them $100 to assault another inmate, police said.
An inmate called Ortiz-Montero as the attack happened, according to police. Two weeks after the assault Ortiz-Montero resigned her position at the jail, Koon said.
SLED agents said jail phone, mail, banking and video records provide substantial evidence of the crimes.
Agents arrested Ortiz-Montero on Friday and jailed her at Lexington County Detention Center. As of Saturday at noon, Ortiz-Montero was still jailed awaiting a $6,000 bond to be posted.
Misconduct in office carries a penalty of one to 10 years in prison while criminal conspiracy is a five-year offense.
The State could not determine whether Ortiz-Montero has retained legal representation to get a comment.
©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)