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Plainview man charged with assisting a meth trafficker’s prison escape

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A Plainview man was charged today with assisting a meth trafficker’s prison escape, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Juan Anthony Cordero, 25, was arrested by United States Marshals Service’s North Texas Fugitive Task Force (NTFTF) on Saturday. He made his initial appearance in court today.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed today, Mr. Cordero spoke with Mark Lucio, a prisoner in federal custody at the Bailey County Jail to allegedly plan and assist with his escape. Mr. Lucio was in federal custody following his June 3rd guilty plea for possession to distribute methamphetamine and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

On August 28, Mr. Cordero was seen on a video call with Mr. Lucio allegedly discussing the details of a prison escape that was to occur the next day. Mr. Cordero and Mr. Lucio allegedly discussed the time for the escape and the vehicle Mr. Cordero would be driving.

On the morning of August 29, Mr. Lucio called Mr. Cordero minutes before the planned prison escape was to take place to advise Mr. Cordero with last minute instructions. Mr. Lucio made his escape through a sally port door at the Bailey County Jail and ran to Mr. Cordero’s car and they fled the area together.

Shortly after the escape, the Hale County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the NTFTF to be on the lookout for Cordero’s vehicle. Deputies with the Hale County Sheriff’s Office located Cordero’s car at a residence in Plainview, Texas. NTFTF members, along with deputies with the Hale County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety made contact with Mr. Cordero at the residence.

Following an interview with NTFTF officers, Mr. Cordero admitted to helping Mr. Lucio escape from the Bailey County Jail. Mr. Cordero allegedly said that he also gave Mr. Lucio a 9mm pistol and he dropped Mr. Lucio off at a residence in Abernathy, Texas. NTFTF members found Mr. Lucio at that residence and took him into custody without incident.

A criminal complaint is formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted of the charged offense, Mr. Cordero faces up to 5 years in federal prison.

The United States Marshal Service, Texas Department of Public Safety, Bailey County Sheriff’s Office, and Hale County Sheriff’s Office are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag is prosecuting this case.

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