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Jail Watch: Criminal Network In Texas Dept of Criminal Justice System? Texas Rangers Investigate

Right now, one of the biggest news stories we’ve had in years may be breaking – if convicted rapist Arcade Joseph Comeaux is telling the truth.  Considering who’s giving his words some weight, looks like he just might be.

Huntsville Inmate Arcade Joseph Comeaux Escaped Last Week

Last week, Comeaux escaped as he was being transported by bus from the Huntsville prison to Beaumont, where he would be near to medical treatment facilities in Galveston for his purported stroke that had left him paralyzed. Comeaux – despite being handcuffed and shackled to his wheelchair – pulled a pistol on the two guards accompanying him, and after firing a warning shot, successfully ordered the two guards to handcuff themselves together, in the back of the bus.  Comeaux took their guns (he now had three), dressed himself in one of their uniforms, and walked away.  That’s right – walked.  He’d been conning everyone that he couldn’t use his legs, apparently pretty convincingly. 

National Media Coverage of The Big Bus Escape

Combine a record like Comeaux’s and the circumstances of his escape, and sure ’nuff you’ve got the national media hounds pouring into the state.  CNN detailed Comeaux’s 30 year prison record.  America’s Most Wanted acted fast, with Comeaux being a focus of their December 5th episode — six days after his escape.  Lots of questions were being asked about how this guy could free himself from the clutches of the Texas Department of Corrections. 

Comeaux got caught and now he’s squealing.

Freedom didn’t last long for Arcade Comeaux.  He was caught within two weeks of running — a salesman called in a tip to 911 about a strange man loitering in the lobby of a Houston business.  The Houston cops responded, and Comeaux was arrested and taken into custody without incident. 

According to media reports Comeaux was cold, wet, tired, hungry — and barefoot.  There were reports he was still wearing the duds he’d taken from the bus guard when he walked away on November 30th.  Even the New York Times reported on the capture.

After Capture, Comeaux Starts An Even Bigger NewsStory – He Had Help From the Inside

Lots of folk probably thought that the story ended in Houston when the manhunt was over.  Sounds reasonable, right?  But noooo.  Arcade had just began earning his plug (with a tip of the hat to Jay Leno). 

Comeaux met with a local community activist, Quanell X at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and here’s where the Big Story begins. According to Arcade Comeaux, staff of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice got the gun to him that he used on the bus.  (Someone on the inside sold it to him, but the price hasn’t been reported.)  They helped Comeaux hide it there in his Huntsville cell until he got an opportunity to use it.  And, once he was on the lam, he got help from a criminal network connected to the prison system – staying in safehouses and the like. 

Comeaux told the activist that he was part of a group planning a larger escape, but he got antsy and decided to make a break for it himself.  (Riding that bus and getting nearer to a hospital team that might blow the whistle on his fake paralysis might have been a factor — but that hasn’t been substantiated.)

Oh, and Comeaux gave Quanell X names of those who helped him — identifying members of this Secret Network inside the TDCJ. 

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Responds – Comeaux Just Pulling Another Con

At the get-go, the  TDCJ Inspector General John Moriarty has stepped up to the plate and said that while all of this will be investigated,  it is his opinion that Comeaux is a liar.  Moriarty points to how he was wearing the same clothes for eight days as belaying the existence of any criminal network. 

But that doesn’t explain the gun that an inmate had on a prison bus.  It doesn’t explain how he faked being handicapped for all that time while in lock up, either. 

Enter the Texas Rangers, the Texas Legislature, and the Lt. Governor

This week, two Texas Rangers met with Arcade Comeaux.  So did State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), chairman of the Texas Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee.  

Senator Whitmire should be pretty interested in a full investigation of prison smuggling — as you’ll recall, it was State Senator John Whitmire who was threatened last year by a Texas Death Row inmate who was using a smuggled cellphone. 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has formally requested that Whitmire’s committee hold hearings investigating how various items of contraband (including Arcade’s gun) get smuggled into these lock-down facilities.  Dewhurst has also requested legislative investigation into how Comeaux could con so many law enforcement officials that he was an invalid, needing a wheelchair.  (This is especially interesting since Dewhurst already has two year old video from the prison showing Comeaux could walk.)

Let’s all watch this story and see what happens.  Looks like this is just beginning and who knows how big this story may get ….

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