Hialeah

Escaped prisoner in Opa-locka captured

Juan Preval, 26, was last seen in the area of West Fourth Avenue and 74th Street.
Juan Preval, 26, was last seen in the area of West Fourth Avenue and 74th Street.

A full-scale search for a Broward man who escaped from an Opa-locka state work release facility in handcuffs and shackles ended Tuesday afternoon after the prison was found in an area of brush just a short distance from the state facility.

Juan Preval, a state prison inmate who had been serving time at the facility, was found shortly after 1 p.m. in the area of Red Road and the Grantigny expressway, not far from the work release center.

From Chopper 4, a man answering Preval’s description was seen handcuffed and surrounded by police. Earlier, police K-9 units were seen searching the area, and for a time a part of the Grantrigny Expressway was closed to traffic.

The escape took place in the general area of the Gratigny Expressway, and police have blocked a portion of the highway as the search continues.

The facility from which Preval escaped is under the direction of the Florida Department of Corrections, and is not considered a high-security prison.

According to a state alert about the escape, Preval was sentenced in June 2005 for grand theft, burglary, weapons charges, and resisting arrest for a crime committed in 2004 in Broward County.

State records show him in prison on July 5, 2005, serving a variety of sentences that totaled almost 9 years.

The facility from which he escaped allows inmates outside of the prison walls on work details or assignments, but Preval’s current status is not known.

The state alert describes Preval as five-eight and 180 pounds, Hispanic, with tattoos on his face, back, both arms, his left foot and hand. The tattoos include a teardrop, martini glass, the word "Thug" in two places, and the words “One Life” on his right arm.

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