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Tip Leads to Shootout, Capture of Two Escapees

January 11, 1995

MIAMI (AP) _ Two homeless men living in a rural shantytown earned a $20,000 reward for telling police where to find two of five killers who tunneled their way out of prison.

One of the two fugitives was killed by police in the homeless camp and the other was captured unharmed. The three others remained at large.

The two homeless men told the Florida Highway Patrol they knew where the two were hiding in the shantytown of makeshift shelters that is near the Florida Turnpike and just two miles from a patrol station.

``They told us they could lead us right to them,″ said Sgt. Ernie Duarte.

The men easily identified pictures of Armando Junco, 62, and Florencio Alvarez, 39, from a wanted poster.

Within minutes, dozens of law enforcement officers surrounded the escapees’ cardboard lean-to. Junco was killed and Alvarez arrested. No officers were hurt.

The confrontation at the camp had been described as a shootout, but Boyle Jourdan of the state Department of Law Enforcement said the escapees did not have firearms, although unspecified weapons were found at the camp.

Duarte would not identify the two homeless men.

He did say: ``They were very interested in the reward money.″

They will get the money Thursday, Jourdan said.

That will leave rewards totaling $30,000 for the remaining three escapees.

The five, all serving life terms, burrowed out of Glades Correctional Institution in Belle Glade, about 85 miles north, by digging a 60-foot tunnel beneath the prison’s razor-wire fence on Jan. 2. A sixth inmate was captured outside the tunnel.

After the escape, Junco and Alvarez jumped on the back of a truck near Belle Glade and rode south on the turnpike to a tollbooth about five miles from the camp, Jourdan said.

``We believe these were the only two of the five in the area,″ he said.

Still at large were Hector Rivas, 32, Juan Fleitas, 30, and Jesus Martinez, 47.

Three crews searched door-to-door for them Wednesday in towns around the Glades Correctional Institution.

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