The Merced County Sheriffs Department reported on Sunday afternoon that three inmates escaped from the John Latorraca Correctional Facility.
After conducting a routine head count at the jail's housing units on Saturday night, Merced County Corrections Officers learned of the escape of Brandon Joseph Crane, 29, Felipe Angel Lopez-Valle, 26, and Manuel Carreno Garcia, 25.
"The case is being investigated aggressively," said Sheriffs Department Spokesman Delray Shelton. "The Sheriff is taking a firm stance on the matter, and we will actively pursue these individuals until they are in custody."
Officials believe the inmates escaped around 10 p.m. Saturday night by moving a fluorescent light fixture in their housing unit and making a hole in the ceiling. Through the opening, they allegedly escaped onto the roof of the facility, jumped to the ground and scaled the security fence.
"The jail was never built to house high-risk felons," Shelton said. "It was built as a low risk facility. But we will not tolerate these types of incidents."
Merced resident Crane is wanted on escape charges, being a felon in possession of a firearm, violation of parole and various other firearm related charges. He is Caucasian with blonde hair and blue eyes. He stands about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing roughly 170 pounds.
Riverbank resident Lopez-Valle is wanted for escape, deportation proceedings, resisting and obstructing arrest, receiving and possession of stolen property, vehicle theft and driving on a non-valid license. He is Hispanic with black hair and brown eyes. He stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighting about 216 pounds.
Merced resident Garcia is wanted for escape, deportation proceedings, assault with a deadly weapon and felony domestic violence. He is Hispanic with black hair and dark-brown eyes. He stands at 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds.
Deputies are asking anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Department at (209) 385-7445. Tips are kept confidential and callers can remain anonymous.