Paraguay Begins Investigations after 75 Inmates Escape Prison via Tunnel

Provided by BBC News Map
Seventy-five prisoners have escaped from a jail in eastern Paraguay near the border with Brazil officials say

Paraguay's interior ministry said on Sunday that the escape occurred in Amambay, which borders Brazil.

Almost 80 prisoners, many of them members of a Brazilian drug- and the arms-trafficking gang and described as "highly risky", have escaped from a Paraguayan prison near the border, police said.

Not less than 75 "extremely harmful" criminals, together with members of a infamous Brazilian gang, have escaped from jail in Paraguay. "This isn't the work of one day or one night".

The inmates dug a secret way "as we see in the films, replete with internal flash", police representative Elena Andrada said, according to the news media report.

The number of escapees totalled 76, including 40 Brazilians and 36 Paraguayans, officials said.

The border region near Pedro Juan Caballero is considered a transit point for drug trafficking and other criminal activity by gangs like Brazil's PCC and Comando Vermelho, or Red Command. Investigators believe some of them may even have left the prison in previous days, he said.

Government officials said they suspect prison officials were aware of the operation, firing the prison's director and six other officials following the escape, Reuters reported. The gang was founded in the 1990s inside a Sao Paulo prison and it has extended its influence throughout the country.

The prison's warden has been dismissed and dozens of guards arrested. "There is complicity of people inside, and this is a phenomenon that affects all prison facilities", he said.

"These are highly risky people", Paraguayan Attorney General Sandra Quinonez told Monumental.

Brazil meanwhile moved to tighten security in its nearby border area to help recapture the inmates, Antonio Carlos Videira, Mato Grosso do Sul state's justice and public safety secretary, told reporters.

He tweeted: 'In the event that they enter Brazil once more, they are going to exclusively get a one-way ticket to federal jail'.



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