McALLEN – An assistant nurse from the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa has pleaded guilty to providing contraband to a federal inmate, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Laura Ortiz, 35, of Weslaco, pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment at a hearing held today in federal court in McAllen before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane.

Indicted in September 2011 with providing an inmate with a prohibited object, Ortiz admitted today to providing marijuana, a schedule I controlled substance, to said federal inmate while she was on duty at the detention facility.

Ortiz is facing a maximum five-year-term of imprisonment as well as a fine not to exceed $250,000 for the narcotics related offense at her sentencing hearing, which is set for Jan. 5, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. Previously released on bind, Ortiz has been permitted to remain on bond pending her sentencing hearing.

The investigation leading to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Ortiz was initiated by the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Linda Requénez prosecuted the case.