Prison Siege and Cybercrime Featured at Real Talk w/CJ “Extra”

A state prison official who survived the longest prison siege in U.S. history and officers from a Harris County Cyber Crime Unit will provide two special presentations of Real Talk w/CJ on Thursday, March 31.

Fingers on a computer keyboardWayne Scott, retired Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was a Lieutenant at the Walls Unit in Huntsville when heroin kingpin Frederico “Fred” Carrasco and two other inmates held 11 prison workers and four inmates hostage in the institution’s library for 11 days in 1974. Harris County Constable Corporal Gary Spurger and Deputy Jeff Lee from the Harris County HighTech and Cyber Crime Unit will share modern day tales of using technology to track down and catch Internet predators.

Dr. Holly Miller, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, reports that Scott, Spurger and Lee were asked to attend Nancy Gaertner’s Let’s Talk event Thursday evening.

"The speakers have graciously agreed to provide a special appearance to discuss their expertise and career experiences for two Real Talk w/CJ 'extras.'" Miller stated. "The College of Criminal Justice and our students are fortunate and thankful for this special opportunity."

Scott will make his presentation on the Prison Siege between 1 and 2 p.m. in the CJ Courtroom; Spurger and Lee will speak between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the same location.

Scott, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University in 1973, began his career as a correctional officer at the Huntsville Unit at TDCJ while a student at the College. He rose through the ranks of the agency to become its Executive Director, taking only a brief hiatus to work in the private sector.

Scott was a member of the prison security staff when the Walls Unit Library was taken over during the Carrasco Siege. Scott was shot, but not seriously injured during the event. He plans to bring a video of the siege and items used by security forces in those days.

During the siege, Carrasco and two other inmates, who had smuggled guns and ammunition into the prison, repeatedly threatened to shoot or blow up the 15 hostages, parading them in front of the windows of the library. The trio made various demands, including tailored suits, dress shoes, toothpaste, cologne, walkie-talkies, bulletproof helmets and an armored car. The prisoners planned to flee to Cuba and meet with Fidel Castro.

After 11 days, the inmates made a escape attempt, using a escape pod made of legal books and blackboards and surrounding themselves with hostages. The Texas Rangers blasted the group with high pressure fire hoses, but when a rupture stopped the flow, the convicts started shooting, killed two female hostages. Two of the inmates also died during the shootout.

Wayne Scott Spurger and Lee are members of the HighTech and Cyber Crime Unit at the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 Office, which was created to catch online sexual predators and other Internet criminals. To catch predators, the duo creates online profiles of under-aged children on social networking sites and chat rooms and sets up sting operations to meet them. The unit has been successful in nabbing a pilot, teachers and other individuals on child pornography charges.

The unit works with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Houston Area Child Sexual Exploitation Task Force. This unit also provides educational opportunities to civic groups and schools/educators to help make them aware of dangers poised by the Internet.

The unit teaches a basic computer crimes course and provides identity theft education. The unit has worked cooperatively with many state, local and federal agencies across the county, and is aiding TCLEOSE with identifying the needs and curriculum for a certification for Cybercrime Investigator in the State of Texas.

Member of The Texas State University System