6 people arrested for allegedly helping inmates escape from Calif. jail

According to deputies, several other individuals may have been involved; three of the escaped inmates remain at large


By Shawn Jansen
Merced Sun-Star

MERCED, Calif. — The Merced County Sheriff's Office arrested six people accused of helping inmates escape from the Merced County jail on Jan. 10.

The arrests were made by the Merced County Sheriff's Office, The United States Marshals Service, and the Department of Justice.

"Over the past week, investigators have learned that friends and family members of the escapees aided in their escape during and after their incarceration," the Merced County Sheriff's Office stated in a social media post.

Deputies identified those arrested as Sonia Montes, 46, of Merced, Elvira Aleman De Montes, 66, of Atwater, Alexia Hernandez-Ramirez, 20, of Atwater, Arthur Quirarte, 19, of Atwater, Rosario Coronado, 41, of Merced, and Raheem Hill, 28, of Merced.

According to deputies, several other individuals may have been involved, and investigators are looking into other possible suspects who may have aided the escaped inmates.

Three of the escaped inmates remained at large Wednesday.

The United States Marshals Service has increased the reward to $10,000 per escapee for information leading to their arrest.

The three escaped inmates still wanted include:

Gabriel Francis Coronado, 19, of Atwater. He is 5-feet-10 inches tall, 225 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He is charged with attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang, felon in possession of a firearm, and violation of probation.

Jorge Barron, 20 of Atwater. He is 5-feet-5, 140 with black hair, brown eyes. According to Merced County Superior Court records, in August of 2017, Barron was indicted on felony charges, including shooting at an inhabited dwelling or motor vehicle, personal discharge of a firearm, conspiracy, and gang enhancements.

Manuel Allen Leon, 21, of Vallejo. He is 5-feet-10-inches tall, 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He is charged with assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, evading peace officer/reckless driving, participation in a criminal street gang, and carrying a loaded firearm.

On Jan. 12, authorities captured three of the six escapees. Edgar Ventura, 22, of Portland, Ore., was apprehended without incident in Firebaugh. Escapees Fabian Cruz Roman, 22, of Los Banos, and Andres Nunez Rodriguez Jr., 21, of Planada, were apprehended in the San Diego area at the southern border attempting to cross into Mexico, according to the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say all three suspects should be considered armed and dangerous. If you see any of the following escapees, do not approach them and immediately call 9-1-1.

A TIP LINE has been set up by the US Marshals Service and all information given can remain anonymous and could help bring these criminals to justice. To provide information you can call: 1-877-WANTED-2 (1-877-926-8332) or you can visit the following link: https://www.usmarshals.gov/tips/index.html

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(c)2021 the Merced Sun-Star (Merced, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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