LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — A prison inmate who walked away from a federal prison in Colorado last Tuesday was found to have meth in his locker four days earlier, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to the Problem Solvers on the condition of anonymity.

Edward Verdugo was discovered missing around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, from the Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood. It’s near the intersection of South Kipling Street and Quincy Avenue in unincorporated Jefferson County.

Sources told FOX31 that Verdugo wasn’t moved to the secure housing unit, or SHU, after staff found meth in his locker on Friday, Sept. 1.

Instead, he remained at the minimum security satellite camp, where he was able to access a golf cart last Tuesday and drive to the edge of the prison grounds near the Foothills Golf Course and simply walk away.

After his escape, sources told the Problem Solvers, prison staff searched Verdugo’s room and found more drugs.

If that’s true, it raises questions about why staff didn’t search Verdugo’s room after drugs were found in his locker and why he wasn’t moved to the secure housing unit on Friday, when drugs were allegedly found in his locker.

It would also offer a motive for Verdugo to escape, because presumably, he would be facing new drug possession charges and a longer prison sentence in a more secure facility.

Mugshot of Edward Verdugo
Mugshot of Edward Verdugo (Credit: U.S. Department of Justice)

No secure fencing at federal inmate camp

Sources told FOX31 that anyone sentenced to less than 10 years in prison is eligible to be assigned to the less restrictive inmate camp, where there is no secure fencing to keep inmates from leaving.

According to the Bureau of Prisons website, there are 974 inmates at the FCI prison and federal detention center, and 80 of those inmates — including Verdugo — are assigned to the camp.

Verdugo was sentenced to 109 months, or 9 years and 1 month, by a federal judge in New Mexico for conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and felon in possession of a firearm.

FOX31 reached out to the Bureau of Prisons to ask about the allegations of drugs being discovered prior to Verdugo’s escape and if any staff faced an internal investigation for not moving him to the secure housing unit.

In an email, a bureau spokesperson wrote: “The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not discuss conditions of confinement of any individual to include potential investigations, or the matters resulting from such investigations.”