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A trio of jail inmates took over a prisoner transport van Monday afternoon and led officers from multiple agencies on a lengthy pursuit before being taken back into custody about 50 miles away.
McKinley County Undersheriff James Maiorano III said at about 4:30 p.m. that the van had been stopped by law enforcement and all three prisoners were accounted for.
He said a deputy from the department was transporting three inmates from the Metropolitan Detention Center to a Gallup jail on Monday. One of the prisoners assaulted the deputy and was able to take control of the van, he said.
“All occupants of the van are fine,” he said.
A State Police news release said the driver of the transport van had a medical episode and stopped at Route 66 Casino, about 20 miles west of Albuquerque, which is when the inmates took over the van and fled.
State Police officers spotted the van near Tohajiilee. After a lengthy pursuit, officers used tire deflation devices to stop the van west of Grants. The three inmates were taken into custody, according to the news release.
Jayme Fuller, a spokeswoman with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday afternoon that BCSO was among the agencies called to assist in the search for the prisoner transport van along Interstate 40.
State Police identified the three inmates as Josh Hall, 35, of Milan; LaCosta Reeves, 45, of Gallup; and Rickie Billie, 36, of Albuquerque.
Hall has an open case on charges of aggravated fleeing of law enforcement and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. Reeves is facing a charge of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle. Billie has an open case on a burglary charge.
It wasn’t clear Monday if additional charges will be filed against the group.
In 2016, Albuquerque police and other agencies were involved in a days-long manhunt after two prisoners, Lionel Clah and Joseph Cruz, escaped from a prisoner transport van in southern New Mexico. The two men traveled to Albuquerque, where they were on the lam for several days before being rearrested.
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