Fajita bandit sentenced to 50 years


Megan Wedhorn

In a Texas courtroom last Friday, 53-year-old Gilberto Escamilla, also known as the Fajita Bandit, pled guilty to theft by public servant. This came almost a year after the nine year scam was unraveled by authorities, who accused Escamilla of stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas during the nine years he worked at the Cameron County juvenile detention center.

Escamillia was arrested last year when it was discovered that he had been ordering truckloads of fajitas through the Juvenile Center and reselling them to his own customers. The scam was discovered when a delivery driver contacted the Cameron County Juvenile Detention Center’s office to ask where he needed to unload 800 pounds of fajitas. The person on the other end of the line was very confused, because the cafeteria didn’t serve fajitas. That is when the nine-year scam unraveled.

During the hearing last Friday, State District Judge J. Manuel Banales sentenced Escamillia to 50 years in prison. The reason that the sentence was so high, is because in Texas, theft of more than $300,000 is automatically a first-degree felony. However, the state of Texas also treats theft by public service differently from other types of theft. In Escamillia’s case, that means that he value of the meat he stole meant that it was already the highest class of felony. The 50 year sentence is basically a life sentence for Escamilla.