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U.S. Marshals are on the hunt in Arkansas for two “armed and dangerous” fugitives, one of whom is the leader of a murderous white supremacist gang called the New Aryan Empire.
Wesley Gullett, 30, and Christopher Sanderson, 34, escaped the Jefferson County Detention Center, about an hour from Little Rock, sometime between midnight and 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the U.S. Marshals. The men used decoy bodies to trick patrolling jail guards into thinking they were asleep in their beds.
U.S. Marshals didn’t say exactly how the two escaped, only that they were able to breach the jail through a “vulnerability” in their cell.
“We were made aware this morning of the inmates’ escape and are working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to secure their return into custody,” Cody Hiland, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, told the Associated Press.
Gullett’s been in custody since earlier this year in connection to the 2016 shooting of Bruce Wayne Hurley, a government informant who ratted out the New Aryan Empire's methamphetamine enterprise to law enforcement. He was indicted in February, along with 53 members of the white supremacist gang, on charges of federal murder, kidnapping, and drug distribution — though the indictment doesn’t specify which member of the white supremacist group carried out the Hurley murder.
Sanderson was jailed on federal gun and drug charges unrelated to Gullett’s case.
The New Aryan Empire has more than 5,000 members nationwide, according to local paper The Pine Bluff Commercial. The gang's slogan, “To The Dirt,” refers to the rule that members must remain in the NAE until they die.
Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. blamed the escape on the lack of resources needed to patch up the jail’s most vulnerable spots. And it's the second attempt just this week: Inmates tried to escape on Tuesday, but county jail drones quickly spotted them before they could leave the facility.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told VICE News that there haven’t been any updates on Gullett and Sanderson’s whereabouts since their escape early Wednesday morning.
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the capture of Gullett, and a $5,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Sanderson.
Cover: Undated booking photo provided by the Jefferson County, Ark., Sheriff's Office, Wednesday, July 31, 2019 shows Wesley Gullett. (Jefferson County Sheriff's Office via AP)