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MDC guard accused of abusing female inmates

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a county jail corrections officer after multiple abuse allegations surfaced from female inmates, including from one woman who claimed she had sex with him, according to a criminal complaint.

Andres Verdugo, 34, was arrested today and booked into the same jail he works at on rape and witness intimidation charges after allegations from female inmates who said he would ask them to wear tighter jumpsuits to show off their bodies, guided one inmate’s hand along another’s back, and watched inmates change clothes and shower, according to the criminal complaint.

When an inmate complained, Verdugo allegedly ordered female inmates out of their cells and told them that he had the power to make them disappear, reportedly saying he would burn their bodies in a car “on the mesa” or feed them to pigs, the complaint stated.

One female inmate initially denied that the officer had ever touched her, but later said she and Verdugo had sex in a closet, according to the complaint.

A Metropolitan Detention Center spokeswoman said Verdugo has been employed at the jail since 2007 and that it is cooperating with the criminal investigation. The jail is also conducting its own internal investigation, she said.

“MDC continues to work in conjunction with BCSO in addressing personnel issues at MDC that are inappropriate, unacceptable, and not to the standards that MDC has established and will continue to enforce”, deputy county manager Tom Swisstack said in a news release.

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