Eight Peru National Penitenciary Institute regional directors canned following brazen prison escape

Less than a week after Peru’s National Penitenciary Institute, or INPE, confirmed that two drug traffickers waltzed out of two Lima jails with forged court orders of release in hand, the head of INPE sacked eight regional directors on Thursday, daily El Comercio reported.

The regional directors were fired as part of an ongoing reformation in cooperation with Peru’s Justice Department, said INPE Director Leonardo Caparrós.

The eight firings come only days after the escapes earlier this month, and revelation that two other convicts, also with forged court orders of release also managed to escape from INPE prisons since last December.

Christian Motte Ramírez Gastón and Colombian Aníbal Zapata Ávalos skipped out of jail this on Feb. 2 and 6, from Lima’s Lurigancho and Castro Castro prisons respectively.

Motte Ramírez was convicted to 20 years for drug trafficking in September 2005. He and his father, Motte Piccone, are currently under investigation for money laundering. Piccone is described in media reports as an intimate friend of Romulo Leon Alegria, a former congressman whose intercepted phone conversations about an alleged oil concession kickback scheme that rocked Peru’s government, prompting a slew of resignations in President Alan Garcia’s Cabinet.

“I have told the Minister of Justice, Rosario Fernández, that I can step aside if necessary,” said Caparrós, who has been highly criticized for the escapes. “The problems that have occurred lately don’t mean that the penitentiary system isn’t improving, and that things aren’t moving forward.”

INPE’s regional Lima director, Bertha Chacaltana, is to be replaced by Odontologist and former Piedras Gordas prison director, Sergio Haro.

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