Joel Armando Mata-Castro, one of the five illegal aliens who escaped the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa back on September 19, turned himself in. He walked up to a checkpoint and surrendered. The escapees are thought to be involved with the Raza Unida drug cartel.
They escaped by overpowering a guard with a homemade knife. Since then they suspect that the escapees, including former police officer Francisco Meza-Rojas, are hiding out in Mexico on a ranch. Mexico is only 20 minutes from La Villa.
The five illegal immigrants are suspected members of the violent drug gang Raza Unida. Former McAllen police officer Francisco Meza-Rojas was two weeks away from trial on federal drug-trafficking charges that could bring a 40-year prison sentence if he is convicted.
Measures have been taken since the escape at the privately held jail. A lot of the changes seem to me like covering their ass as the guard who was overpowered, because the prison was understaffed, was fired. That seems ridiculous to me.
Here are the changes that have been made since the escape.
After the escape, an emergency state inspection cited LCS for employing too few guards, adding an unauthorized number of bunks and keeping unlicensed guards on the payroll.
The Lafayette, La.-based company was ordered to take corrective measures but was not penalized, and LCS has said the problems have been fixed.
The guard who was overpowered was fired, the prison's chief of security was demoted, and all employees were given lie detector tests. The company also installed a new outer fence, a new alarm system, and a metal detector for entering and exiting staff. It is in the process of putting in new outside lights and cameras.
I'm glad to hear that they have stepped up security there, but firing the guard who was overpowered by 6 people is a little rash. They also should have faced penalties. These private jails make a profit by ensuring that they are doing their job of securing prisoners. If you fail to do your job you should not only receive a warning, and potentially lose your ability to work in the industry, but should be fined heavily.
Heavy fines would ensure that rather than putting the public at risk, companies will do everything they can from the start to make sure that security is in place instead of "half-assing" it for a buck.