It’s the stuff of the movies but it appears an inexplicable security breach at Madrid’s Alcalá Meco high-security prison allowed a dangerous hitman to escape by literally walking out.
Spanish national Yusef M. L. from the North African enclave of Ceuta, aged only 20 but already with two alleged murders to his name, escaped from the prison taking advantage of the large number of visitors at the jail for Christmas.
The 20-year-old had been arrested in April in the port of Algeciras in southern Andalucía and had only been in the prison since 3 December according to initial reports.
Despite being a high risk, he managed to escape hidden among groups of relatives visiting other inmates and himself.
Red faced prison authorities are scratching their heads as to how the escapee evaded the surveillance of prison officers and reached the areas reserved for visitors before leaving the prison with them.
The prison which is located in the municipality of Alcala de Henares is managed by the Ministry of the Interior has an exterior seperate visitors centre from the main prisoners block but is said to have “extreme” security and surveillance measures, since it is one of the most vulnerable parts of the prison complex.
Yusef M., better known as ‘El Pastilla’ was remanded in custody as the alleged perpetrator of at least two murders.
The first was on 6 October 2022, when he allegedly killed a 26-year-old man to order in the El Saladillo neighbourhood of Algeciras when the leader of the gang he was working for, Nayim K. A. ‘Tayena’, mistook the man for a member of a rival group.
El Pastilla, riding a motorbike, fired three shots at point-blank range at his victim, a family man with two children and a worker in the port of Algeciras with no connection to the Cádiz mafias.
A bullet fatally pierced one of his lungs. His only mistake was driving a car of the same model as a criminal who Tayena wanted to settle a score with.
The second murder took place on 12 April this year, when the hitman betrayed his boss and killed Tayena himself with a shot at almost point-blank range in the stomach as he was leaving his house in Los Cortijillos, in Los Barrios, in the province of Cadiz. Yusef was captured that same afternoon in Algeciras when he was trying to board the ferry bound for his native Ceuta to hide there after this second murder, also contract killing.
Apart from these two murders, El Pastilla is being investigated in countless shoot-outs carried out by the mafias to take control of drug trafficking in the outskirts of the autonomous Spanish city.
The errors that led to the hitman’s escape are even more inexplicable, according to sources at the prison, bearing in mind that the young man was in prison under FIES 5, one of the most restrictive regimes.
Police and Civil Guard officer are presently searching the area and following up with the visitor profiles to catch the escapee.