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Jail escape attempt being investigated

The Curry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an attempted escape from the jail Thursday.

Investigators were called to the jail around 5 p.m. after a lieutenant at the facility noticed unusual inmate activity in one of the pods, Undersheriff Wesley Waller wrote in an e-mail Monday.

Waller said the lieutenant went to investigate and discovered inmates were in the process of punching a hole in an exterior wall within their pod.

Criminal charges are pending completion of the investigation.

Jail Administrator Keith Norwood declined to comment, “based on possible charges being filed.”

The escape attempt is the second reported in six months.

The sheriff’s office took emergency command of the jail Feb. 21 after an attempted escape by four inmates prompted the resignations of then-interim administrator Carlos Ortiz and several members of his command staff.

The inmates busted through the concrete block walls of their isolation cells with a broken desk then went on an armed rampage of the facility, causing more than $14,000 in damage before law enforcement arrived and subdued them.

Norwood took command of the facility the second week in June.