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Escaped Merced Inmate Captured Near Firebaugh. Five Others Remain at Large.



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One of six inmates who used a homemade rope to escape from the Merced jail was arrested Tuesday, authorities said. Some of those still on the loose have been charged with murder or attempted murder.

Captured in Firebaugh Area

Edgar Eduardo Ventura, 22, of Portland, Oregon, was captured in the Firebaugh area west of Fresno, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. It provided no other information, and a call to the office went unanswered.

Ventura was in jail on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, participation in a criminal street gang and a probation violation. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Staff at Merced County Downtown Jail noticed late Saturday that the six inmates were missing, the sheriff’s office said.

“A preliminary investigation has determined that the inmates were able to gain access to the roof of the facility and utilize a homemade rope to scale down the side of the jail,” the post said.

Five Escapees Have Violent Felony Charges Pending

All but one of the suspects have been charged with violent felonies, including murder. They should be considered armed and dangerous, officials said, and anyone who spots them is asked not to approach them and immediately call 911.

Authorities have set up a tip line with the U.S. Marshals Service and is offering a $5,000 reward for each fugitive.

They were identified as Jorge Barron, 20, of Atwater; Gabriel Francis Coronado, 19, of Atwater; Manuel Allen Leon, 21, of Vallejo; Andres Nunez Rodriguez Jr., 21, of Planada; and Fabian Cruz Roman, 22, of Los Banos.

Roman has been charged with murder. Coronado and Rodriguez Jr. have been charged with crimes including attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Leon is charged with assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, reckless driving to evade an officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm and a probation violation.

Barron has been charged with a probation violation.

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