San Francisco

Arrest of Man Who Allegedly Helped Escapees Was Kept Secret Until Their Capture

Unknown to the three jail escapees on the run, the man who allegedly smuggled them supplies in jail and then picked them up after their escape, had been arrested and was cooperating with authorities, it was revealed Monday.
 
Loc Ba Nguyen is accused of smuggling "weapons" and "an article useful for escape" into the Orange County jail, according to a criminal complaint dated Monday. An enhancement alleges Nguyen used a knife. 
 
Nguyen, 50, was arrested within a day of the discovery of the January 22 escape, but bailed out the next day, said Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Hallock during a briefing Monday.
 
"I can tell you Mr. Nguyen was involved in the investigation, did provide some information throughout," Capt. Hallock said.
 
According to a timeline pieced together by investigators and released Monday, escapees Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu, and Bac Duong left the jail shortly after 5 a.m. on January 22, and fled on foot two blocks. They allegedly called Nguyen, who picked them up in a Santa Ana residential neighborhood at the corner of 10th Street and Olive Ave, and drove them to a location in the city of Westminster.
 
What led to Nguyen being implicated was not disclosed, though Hallock said it appears he and Duong were acquainted.
 
After traveling with Nayeri and Tieu to San Jose, Duong returned to Santa Ana and surrendered Friday. The next day, Nayeri and Tieu were spotted and arrested in San Francisco. A day after their return to the Orange County jail, authorities for the first time named Nguyen and revealed his alleged
role in the escape.
 
How and what exactly Nguyen allegedly brought to the jail have not been disclosed.
 
"I don't want to go into details because we're still working on it," said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
 
The bail recommendation of the district attorney's office for Nguyen was $100,000, in contrast to the no bail hold for Nooshafarin Ravaghi, the teacher who was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting by providing the escape planners a Google Earth image of the jail roof that was part of the escape route.
 
Monday, the DA concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Ravaghi, and she was released, though the DA left the door open to charging her if further investigation uncovered additional evidence.
 
Nguyen has yet to make his first court appearance, and was scheduled to be arraigned in three weeks on February 22.
 
No one answered the door at his Costa Mesa home Monday afternoon. 
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