Escaped murder suspects are arrested trying to re-enter the US

Escaped inmates Jonathan Salazar and Santos Samuel Fonseca, as seen in an undated handout released by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office in California on 6 Nov, 2019.
Escaped inmates Jonathan Salazar and Santos Samuel Fonseca, as seen in an undated handout released by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office in California on 6 Nov, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE/MONTEREY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Two murder suspects who escaped from a California jail Sunday (Nov 3) were captured late Tuesday night while trying to cross the southern border back into the United States, according to United States Customs and Border Protection.

The escapees, Santos Samuel Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, were arrested trying to re-enter the country near Tijuana, Mexico, Capt. John Thornburg of the Monterey County Sheriff's Office said at a news conference Wednesday.

Both inmates, who had been awaiting trial for gang-related killings at the Monterey County Adult Detention Facility in Salinas, California, are now facing escape charges, Thornburg said.

The authorities had previously received a tip from someone who claimed to have seen the two men, who are both Salinas natives, at a Motel 6 in California, but when the authorities went to apprehend them, the men were no longer there, Thornburg said.

The sheriff's office later received another tip from someone who saw the two men near Tijuana, and notified Customs and Border Protection, the captain said.

Shortly after that, Fonseca and Salazar were located by the authorities as they were trying to cross the border around 11:35 pm on Tuesday. Customs and Border Protection officers took the men to another location and arrested them, Jackie Wasiluk, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office took custody of the inmates around 5 am Wednesday and both men are now back at the Salinas jail, Thornburg said.

On Sunday, Fonseca and Salazar escaped their housing unit by creating a hole in the ceiling, Thornburg said at a news conference Monday. The men crawled through an 8-inch hole and escaped.

Fonseca was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in two shootings in Salinas last year that left two men dead, according to court records. Fonseca told the authorities that he was ordered to kill the men to prove his loyalty to the "Boronda gang," according to The Californian.

 
 

Salazar was charged in the killing of Jaime Martinez, 20, in October 2017. Martinez had been driving in a car with his girlfriend and 18-month-old child.

The men are currently being held in different housing facilities at the Salinas jail, Thornburg said, adding that three additional security measures had been put in place.

"We will take every precaution possible to make sure that we do not have another escape," he said.