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Deputy accused of trying to help Florida Keys inmate escape

Elizardo Ortueta paid $150,000 up front in exchange for jailbreak, deputies say

Elizardo Ortueta is accused of accepting a cash payment in exchange for helping an inmate escape from custody.
Elizardo Ortueta is accused of accepting a cash payment in exchange for helping an inmate escape from custody.

KEY WEST, Fla. – A Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputy who was in credit card debt was arrested Thursday after he accepted a $150,000 advance payment in exchange for his help to plan a Florida Keys inmate's escape, detectives said.

Elizardo Ortueta, 50, was arrested after he met with a confidential source outside a CVS pharmacy in Big Pine Key and accepted the cash payment, sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.

Ortueta is accused of making a deal with Stock Island Detention Center inmate Albert Vizcaino Gonzalez to help him escape for a $400,000 fee.

Gonzalez, 35, was convicted on drug trafficking charges and faces a lengthy prison sentence. He told investigators that Ortueta first approached him and asked to borrow $50,000 in exchange for continued preferential treatment in jail.

Later, Gonzalez told investigators, Ortueta offered to help him escape from custody on his way to prison in exchange for a $400,000 cash payment.

Gonzalez told his attorney, who reported it to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Herrin said. Investigators then worked with Gonzalez to arrange a cash exchange.

Ortueta faces multiple charges, including receiving unlawful compensation for official behavior and smuggling contraband into a corrections facility. Herrin said detectives also found fitness-related items and supplements in Gonzalez's jail cell. Gonzalez claimed that Ortueta provided them to him on several occasions.

Herrin said Ortueta was fired Thursday night. She said he worked as a detention deputy from 2009 until his resignation in 2015. He returned to work in February.


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