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ELKTON 2 escape from federal prison



Published: Sun, July 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The men were the first to escape after the minimum security unit was fenced in.

ELKTON -- Authorities said they are searching for two inmates who escaped from the minimum security camp at the Federal Correctional Institution.

Mary Ann Verner, an associate warden, said the escape was discovered at 6:55 p.m. Saturday, and local residents had been notified.

The escapees are:

* Rafael Herrera, 53, who was serving a 121-month term for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was scheduled for release in 2007.

* Juan Gonzales-Valencia, 30, who was serving a 20-year sentence involving a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and other drugs. He was scheduled for release in 2006.

No description of the men or further information on them was available late Saturday, according to the prison official.

The men apparently were able to climb over the fence, Verner said. She did not know how.

The men were the first to escape from the minimum security facility since it was fenced, Verner said.

Past escapes: Three inmates walked away from FCI Elkton's minimum-security camp in the months after its 1997 opening but were returned to custody.

In 1999, two more inmates went missing -- one was caught hiding in his wife's car in the prison parking lot; another was caught based on a tip from a local resident.

In 2000, two more inmates also left the minimum-security camp without authorization. Those who leave without authorization face disciplinary action within the prison system and a possible criminal charge of escape.




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