HOUSTON—Crystal M. Washington, aka Crystal Bureau, 53, has been convicted on three counts as charged by a federal jury sitting in Houston, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Washington was employed as a parole officer at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Office located on Hamilton Street in Houston.
Following a two-day trial, the jury found Washington accepted bribes from a parolee—a suspected heroin dealer—from 2009 to 2012 and that she warned the dealer of a Houston Police Department investigation in 2009. She was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, as well as conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right for accepting money from the dealer. Further evidence was presented that showed Washington accepting money from a cooperating parolee in May 2012.
U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for March 25, 2014. At that time, Washington faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each count. In addition, the extortion convictions carry as possible punishment maximum $250,000 fines, while the conspiracy count could result in a $1 million fine.
Washington was relieved of all duties and her employment terminated upon arrest. She was permitted to remain on bond, but the court modified the conditions to include electronic monitoring based upon the jury’s verdict today.
The operation was a combined public corruption task force effort by the FBI, Houston Police Department, TDCJ-Office of Inspector General, and the Texas Rangers.