Police searched Monday for two Colombian inmates who escaped from a high-security prison after getting the guard drunk and persuading him to let them out to buy more alcohol.
The two fugitives — John Rincon and Olmedo Vargas — are now the focus of a national manhunt, officials said.
Prison guards found the officer drunk and reported the two prisoners missing Saturday from the maximum security wing of Bogota’s La Picota prison.
Further, authorities said they had not detected any damage to the prison gates, so they’re working on the premise that the guard may have helped them escape.
Chapinero Police Col. Elkin Quinchia said officers are working with the Colombian agency responsible for incarceration and rehabilitation to recapture the fugitives. Officers were assigned to the airport and transportation hubs in Bogota to prevent them from leaving the capital.
“The officer had been drinking with the prisoners, he was drunk. He couldn’t even stand up and supposedly let the prisoners through the main gate to buy booze,” one guard said, according to Colombia’s W Radio.
“There is a new guard that makes and breaks La Picota, they take bribes, they give benefits to the inmates, they let them out in exchange for large sums of money, it is a mafia,” the guard added.
Officials said the on-duty guard refused to take a breathalyzer test and initially failed to notify superiors that the two men had escaped.
It’s unclear, though, why the two men were still in prison since they were supposed to be released as part of last year’s amnesty agreement between the government and FARC rebels.
La Picota is Colombia’s largest prison.
By Sommer Brokaw