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Escaped La Tuna inmate arrested after Denver apartment chase

By: Jesse Martinez
EL PASO, Texas -- A Florida man who escaped from La Tuna prison, in Anthony, Texas, was arrested by U.S. marshals, officials said.

Donnie Lee Griffin, 30, was convicted in North Carolina for aggravated identity theft and several fraud charges. He was sentenced to 95 months in prison, and in September 2013, he escaped from La Tuna, officials said.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, in El Paso, discovered that the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper in Florida, posted an obituary for Griffin. The obituary stated Griffin had his body cremated, officials said.

Notwithstanding, the task force continued its investigation, which led investigators to believe that Griffin was using several aliases in several states. They later determined he was living in Denver, officials said.

Authorities were able to locate Griffin at an apartment complex in Denver that was linked to Griffin, officials said.

When authorities entered the apartment, they saw evidence that showed someone had used bed sheets to get out of a window on the 20th floor, officials said.

A resident beneath Griffins apartment advised authorities that the man exited his apartment and ran down the stairs, officials said.

The building was placed on lockdown, and Griffin was later found stuck in the trash chute of the apartment complex.

This goes to show that our task force will continue their relentless pursuit of any and all fugitives. Mr. Griffin went to great lengths in an attempt to elude law enforcement, but we were still able to apprehend him. Griffin was smart, but we were smarter, said Robert Almonte, the United States marshal for the Western District of Texas.

Griffin was taken into custody and booked into the Denver Justice Center. He his pending extradition to Texas.



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