More details emerge about PRJ escape

Published 8:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2023

Adriana Marin-Sotelo had a request for the judge. As her case is not set to go to trial until August, she wanted to be set free. That request didn’t exactly go as planned, as the court learned in addition to being accused of helping her brother escape jail, Adriana is not in the country legally and could face deportation. As people linked to the April 30 escape from Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) stand trial, court documents provide more details about what happened before, during and after the incident.

On Tuesday, May 2, 31-year-old Adriana Marin-Sotelo was arrested and charged with conspiracy to instigate or assist escape. The High Point, North Carolina resident is the sister of 26-year-old Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo, one of the two men who escaped from PRJ on April 30. According to the FBI and court documents, at 1:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 30, Alder climbed over the fence at the jail and escaped. Four hours later, at 5:40 a.m., video cameras caught him climbing into a red Mustang in a nearby parking lot and driving away. On Thursday, May 4, he was arrested by Mexican authorities in the state of Guerrero and brought back to the U.S. In addition to the federal weapons charges he faces, and now the charges of escape, Alder is one of two suspects in the murder of a Wake County sheriff’s deputy.

THE STORY OF BRUCE CALLAHAN

But first, we’ll focus on the second man who escaped on April 30. Things didn’t exactly go as planned for Bruce Carroll Callahan Jr. He had been at Piedmont Regional Jail awaiting trial on multiple federal drug charges when, as documented in court records, he noticed a door had been left unsecured in Housing Unit I-2. This was the same door Alder Marin-Sotelo had used to escape nearly 21 hours earlier.

“At approximately 11:15 pm on April 30, Callahan and another inmate exited Housing Unit I-2 at PRJ through a door that had been left unsecured,” the court records say, although that second inmate is never named. The second inmate went out to the fence with Callahan, helping him climb over it.

“With the assistance of that inmate, Callahan then scaled a fence surrounding the facility that was topped with concertina wire by placing his t-shirt over the concertina wire,” the court documents say. Hours earlier, Alder Marin-Sotelo had scaled the fence and made it over uninjured. That wasn’t the case here, as Callahan’s t-shirt wasn’t thick enough to absorb the wire. He made it over the fence and into the woods with an upper body covered in cuts. The 44-year-old survived by drinking water from the river, he said in the court documents. Then, shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 8, he walked to Lancer Park and pulled a fire alarm, before collapsing and being taken for treatment.

This part of Callahan’s story is now officially over. Avoiding a trial, he pleaded guilty this month to one charge of escaping from custody and has been given a 20-month sentence. The judge handed down two orders as part of the sentence. First, Callahan “shall receive educational and vocational training while incarcerated.” Second, he “shall receive an evaluation for the need of substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment.”

His trial on the federal drug charges is still pending.

SOTELO REACHED OUT IN 2022

Switching to Adriana’s case, one thing we learned from the court documents is that the April 30 escape wasn’t the first time her brother had tried to get out. In fact, he had tried and failed to get another sister involved in 2022. In these documents, the term defendant refers to Adriana Marin-Sotelo.

“Investigators interviewed the defendant’s sister, who said that, in the fall of 2022, the defendant’s brother had asked her to transport a car to the jail so that he could escape and that, when she refused, the defendant’s brother told her to ask the defendant to visit him, which she did,” the court records say.

So to be clear, the prosecution claims Alder first tried to convince another sister to help him. When that sister refused, he asked to have Adriana visit him in Farmville. That was when Adriana got involved with the plan, the documents say.

After the escape, FBI officials listened to all previous calls Alder made over the prior week while in jail. Based on those results, the agents also started listening to calls made by a second inmate, who has now been identified as Giovanni Torres-Santana. On Friday, April 28, Torres-Santana made two calls to a family member, arranging for a red Mustang, eventually used as the getaway vehicle, to be picked up in High Point, North Carolina.

During that second call, Torres-Santana gave Adriana’s name and phone number, saying she had bought the car for $3,000 and was providing a temporary 30-day paper license plate. This family member was supposed to pick up the car from her and then have it in place near the jail by midnight on April 30. Those FBI filings and court documents claim it was this family member that dropped off the car in a jail parking lot, in exchange for a fee.

That fee, the FBI filings and court documents allege, was supposed to be paid by Adriana. On Saturday, April 29 at about 6:04 p.m., the court documents claim Adriana received a call from her brother Alder. He told her to meet the family member of this second inmate. Allegedly, she was to give this person the red Mustang. Then after the escape, she was to pay the person $2,500, the FBI filings allege.

ASKING TO BE LET GO

While waiting for her trial, Adriana made a request of the judge in her case. The mother of four children, Adriana asked to be let go, suggesting through her attorney that she could live under house arrest or under some type of electronic monitoring system to make sure she didn’t run. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles was less than impressed with the idea.

In her written response, the judge pointed out that Adriana “has significant ties to Mexico, lacks legal status in the United States, and has crossed or attempted to illegally cross the border on multiple occasions.”

As a result, Eagles wrote, Adriana, due to her status as a noncitizen, “faces the prospect of deportation after conviction and potential separation from her four United States citizen children, which provides added incentive to obstruct or otherwise fail to appear in these proceedings.”

Eagles pointed out that people can remove electronic monitors and no family member or friend would watch 24-7 to make sure she doesn’t run.

Instead, Eagles rejected the request, setting a deadline that all motions in Adriana’s case have to be filed by July 31. Her trial is set in Guilford County, North Carolina for Monday, August 14.