75 inmates escape Paraguayan prison, but not through the tunnel they dug

75 inmates escape Paraguayan prison, but not through the tunnel they dug
REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter

Seventy-five inmates escaped from a prison in eastern Paraguay close to the Brazilian border in January 2020.

Despite the fact that a tunnel was found, officials suspected this was a cover-up for the operation. It is thought that many were allowed to walk the main gate by the jail guards.

One prisoner was caught as he tried to escape through the tunnel.

After police inspected Pedro Juan Caballero Prison, they discovered the entire block that contained members of Brazil’s largest organised criminal gang was empty.

The First Command of the Capital (PCC) gang is involved in drug and arms trafficking in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Colombia. It is thought there are nearly 30,000 members in operation.

We found the tunnel and believe that it was a cover-up to legitimise or hide the release of the prisoners.

Interior Minister Euclides Acevedo

Intelligence information suggested that the prisoners had been allowed to escape in smaller groups over the last few days and that this happened as the jail director was on annual leave.

This led to Justice Minister Cecilia Pérez calling for all of the prison officials to be fired and arrested.

It is believed that some of the escapees headed straight for the border as burnt-out vehicles were found on the Brazilian side soon after the empty prison block was found.