Las Vegas police: Escaped inmate was captured as he was trying to flee to Tijuana

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 2:07 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Thursday that escaped inmate Porfirio Duarte-Herrera was captured Wednesday night as he was trying to flee to Tijuana, Mexico.

According to Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Duarte-Herrera was at a bus station near downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday night when a worker at the facility recognized him and contacted authorities.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, police said they had passed out flyers with Duarte-Herrera’s photo on them to all transportation depots. As a result, a worker called 9-1-1 just before 10 p.m. to report that they had recognized him from a flyer.

Sheriff Lombardo said that officers took Duarte-Herrera into custody just before he was about to board the bus to Tijuana.

Sheriff Lombardo, who opened the press conference by immediately saying that there “no doubt this man was a danger to the community,” said that the investigation determined that Duarte-Herrera was dropped off near Bonanza and Nellis on Monday night.

Lombardo said Duarte-Herrera “laid low and tried to avoid law enforcement” after being dropped off Monday night. According to Lombardo, authorities do know who dropped him off near Bonanza and Eastern, but they won’t be releasing anything further on that, citing the ongoing investigation.

During the news conference, Lombardo said Duarte-Herrera had a “four-day head start on authorities,” as both Las Vegas police or the U.S. Marshall Service were not notified of the escape until Tuesday. However, the Nevada Department of Corrections has since confirmed that Duarte-Herrera was actually unaccounted for since Friday.

“He had been on the run since Friday, Sept. 23rd,” said Lombardo. “Like everyone else, we learned on Tuesday, the 27th, about his escape from the Southern Nevada Correctional Center.”

Duarte-Herrera, from Nicaragua, was convicted in 2010 of killing a hot dog stand vendor using a motion-activated bomb in a coffee cup atop a car parked at the Luxor hotel-casino.

Lombardo said that NDOC was invited to participate in the Thursday afternoon news conference. However, no one from the department was in attendance.

In the body-worn camera footage from Metro, an officer can be seen making initial contact with the fugitive, and saying, “Hey what’s up man? Hey. Hey, can I talk to you? Do you have ID on you? Come here man.”

Another officer can then be seen putting Duarte-Herrera into handcuffs.

“Don’t be stupid, don’t be stupid. Put your hands back,” said the officer.

He appeared to cooperate. Officers said they were able to take him into custody without incident.

“Whose ID is this bro? Whose ID is this?” asked the officer.

“Mine,” replied Duarte-Herrera.

“Thought you were gonna go?” asked the officer. “Where were you gonna go?”

“Tijuana,” Duarte-Herrera said.

“Any guns in the bag?” asked the officer.

“Umm, clothes,” said Duarte-Herrera.

“You know why we got you right?” the officer said.

“Yeah,” said the fugitive.

Captain Brandon Clarkson of Metro was among the department’s leaders who addressed the public in Thursday’s press conference.

“One of the things we were concerned about specifically was him escaping the state or the country, so we wanted to flag all the transportation hubs in the valley, specifically bus depots,” said Clarkson.

Metro officers described what they believed he was doing during that time period after escaping.

“He was able to get money-- a little bit of money, a little bit of transportation-- from just specifically that area,” said Clarkson.

Metro leaders assured the public that authorities are working to investigate this to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“I’ve had a pretty extensive conversation with the Inspector General’s Office, in the Department of Corrections, as early as this morning. And I have confidence they’re going to come to the bottom of this, and implore resources to prevent it from happening again in the future,” said Lombardo.