Above: Five men escaped U.S. Border Patrol custody in Dumas on Thursday, but the Dumas Police Department wasn’t notified until four hours later. One man was captured in Dumas, but the other four men remain at large. Only three of them have been identified. (Photos: Dumas Police Department)
By Steve Ramos
Five men escaped U.S. Border Patrol custody in Dumas, but local law enforcement officials weren’t notified of the escape until four hours later.
According to the Dumas Police Department, five Border Patrol detainees escaped at the United Express convenience store on South Dumas Avenue at about 8:20 a.m. Thursday when the officers stopped for gas on their way to Amarillo. The men were wearing civilian clothes and were not handcuffed. One of the men was later apprehended near the convenience store.
The men were part of a group of 11 people who were arrested near Guymon for entering the country illegally. Another man, who is suspected to be the one transporting the men, escaped during the traffic stop.
Dumas Police Chief Jim Nelson said he called the Border Patrol to express his displeasure at being notified four hours after the escape. The Moore County Sheriff’s Office also wasn’t notified.
“A DPS (Department of Public Safety) officer was at the United Express when the escape occurred,” Nelson said. “We believe the breakdown in communication occurred because the Border Patrol officers assumed the DPS officer called us, and the DPS officer assumed the Border Patrol officers called us. No one called us.”
On Thursday, two Dumas police officers and a Moore County Sheriff’s deputy searched the area south of Walmart. DPD said Border Patrol officers didn’t search Thursday but are searching for the men Friday.
Three of the men still at large have been identified from their IDs that were recovered from their belongings that been had been taken when they were arrested. They are Alonso Bonilla Joaquin, 42, from Mexico; Ernesto Santiago Frausto Carrillo, 22, from Mexico; and Marbin Zelaya Amaya, 22, from Honduras. Border Patrol officers don’t know the identity of the fourth man.
DPD didn’t have details about how the men were able to escape from the Border Patrol vehicle. The Border Patrol spokesman was not in the office Friday, and no one was available to comment on the escape and search.
The Moore County Journal will update this story as information becomes available.
UPDATE: U.S. Border Patrol Spokesman Bill Brooks called the Moore County Journal and said he requested an update on the escape and will provide the information when he receives it.