For Immediate Release
|April 24, 2014||
SDUSM Arthur Fernandez
Southern District of Texas (713) 238-9443;
USMS Office of Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
Texas Prison Escapee Captured After 16 Years, Returned to the U.S. from
Capture ended one of the longest escape investigations in Texas history
Houston, TX – Members of the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offender and
Fugitive Task Force escorted an international fugitive back to the United
States today following his extradition from Mexico.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Office of Inspector General and members of the GCVOFTF, worked jointly with the U.S. Marshals on this case.
“This capture and extradition closes an important fugitive case that took extensive international coordination and determination by our task force investigators,” said Gary Blankinship, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Texas. “Justice will finally be served.”
Salaz escaped from the recreation yard of the TDCJ – Garza East Prison in Beeville March 22, 1997. He climbed over three 16-feet razor-wired security fences, launching one of the longest prison escape investigations in Texas history.
At the time of the escape, Salaz was serving three concurrent 35-year sentences for aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon and two counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer. Police records show Salaz and an accomplice abducted a man at gunpoint April 2, 1995, and demanded a ransom. Houston police undercover officers arranged for the exchange. Once the abducted man was freed, they identified themselves as police and Salaz and his accomplice opened fire. A police sergeant was hit in the chest, but was saved by his ballistic vest. Salaz was seriously wounded when police returned fire, but he recovered from his injuries and subsequently pleaded guilty. His accomplice was arrested and is serving a life sentence.
"The capture and return of offender Salaz to
the Texas Department of Criminal Justice bring to close a 17-year endeavor
for the Office of the Inspector General,” said Inspector General Bruce
Toney, Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “During this time, the OIG
never retreated from the pursuit or lost sight of the goal to bring Salaz
back to Texas to serve his sentence. I would like to thank the efforts of
the United States Marshals, who worked diligently with the OIG to see
justice served. The cooperative working relationship shared between the
United States Marshals and OIG cannot be over emphasized.”
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.
America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency