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Man faces charges of giving cash and beer to O.C. jail escapees

A Westminster man faces charges of aiding three escaped Orange County Men's Central Jail inmates by supplying the fugitives with cash and beer during their week-long run from authorities. 

Tung Nguyen, 41, of Westminster, has been called to appear in a Santa Ana court Monday to answer to a felony count of being an accessory after the fact. He is the latest individual to be charged in connection with the Jan. 22 escape of inmates Hossein Nayeri, Bac Duong and Jonathan Tieu, authorities said.



An earlier version of this post stated that the jail escape ocurred shortly after 5 p.m. The inmates broke out shortly after 5 a.m.


The inmates are accused of staging an elaborate escape that involved cutting through metal grating, entering a system of ventilation and plumbing shafts, accessing the jail roof and rappelling to the ground. 

Prosecutors say that Nguyen gave the fugitives money and beer the day after the jail break, when they showed up at his Westminster home.

Despite the assistance, the escapees eventually landed in custody once again. Duong surrendered in Santa Ana a week after the escape, while the other two fugitives were captured in San Francisco after they were recognized by a homeless man.

Nguyen was taken into custody on Friday by Orange County sheriff's detectives.

Nguyen is not the first person accused of helping the prisoners to escape.

Loc Ba Nguyen has been charged with providing tools that aided in the escape and of picking up the inmates in a vehicle shortly after the jail break.

Also, a teacher inside the jail was arrested on suspicion of aiding the escape after sheriff’s detectives alleged she provided a Google Earth map of the jail surroundings to Nayeri. The teacher was later released when prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to charge her.

The brazen escape occurred shortly after 5 a.m. but due to shortcomings in the jail counting system, the disappearance was not discovered until an evening count more than 15 hours later.

The inmates used the head start to collect money and about 9:30 p.m., hailed a cab driver and asked for a ride to Rosemead, authorities said. The men went shopping at a Target in Rosemead, and then took the cab driver prisoner a short time later, authorities said. 

All three inmates now face charges related to escape and abduction, in addition to the murder or attempted murder charges that first landed them in jail.

Sheriff's investigators have yet to reveal how the inmates were able to obtain cutting tools to slice through the steel including an inch-thick bar.

For SoCal crime & investigations follow me on Twitter @lacrimes

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