Colombian prisoners get guard drunk and escape

Image source, Inpec
Image caption, The Colombian prison service released a photo of the two fugitives who escaped on Saturday

Two prisoners have escaped from a maximum security jail in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, by getting a guard drunk and convincing him to let them go to go buy more alcohol.

The two inmates never returned and police are currently hunting for them.

Colleagues of the guard at La Picota jail said his breath smelt of alcohol and he refused to be breathalysed.

The prison director said the production of homebrewed liquor inside the prison was common despite frequent checks.

The two fugitives were identified as Jhon Gutiérrez Rincón, a Farc rebel who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for kidnapping in 2003, and Olmedo Vargas, who had recently demobilised from the Farc rebel group but who was awaiting trial for alleged theft.

The prison authorities said they had not been able to detect any damage to the structure of the prison or its gates and they were therefore working on the assumption that a guard colluded to help them escape.

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That version of events coincides with the statements of other guards who said they had seen the two inmates drinking with one of the guards and that they had convinced the guard to let them leave on the promise they would came back with fresh supplies of alcohol.

In an interview with Colombia's FM radio [in Spanish], prison director Col Germán Ricaurte said there had been "a lack of professionalism, a lack of professional ethics, in which one of our officials seems to have broken security protocols and this facilitated the escape".

"The weakness of this official meant that he ingested this liquor and these inmates took advantage of that to convince him that they needed to leave [the prison]," Col Ricaurte explained.

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