A second prison employee has been arrested in connection with the sensational escape at a maximum security prison in New York.
Gene Palmer was arrested on Wednesday for his alleged role in the prison break at Clinton Correctional Facility, according to authorities, who claim Mr Palmer passed on tools to the two escaped murderers in a package of ground beef.
Mr Palmer has acknowledged that he did pass on the raw meat, but said he had no idea it contained the contraband. Court documents claim that Mr Palmer traded the meat for art, a claim he denies.
Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker at the center of the case, allegedly put hacksaw blades, drill bits and a hole punch inside the raw beef with the intention of getting it to Richard Matt and David Sweat, the two Clinton inmates who staged the dramatic escape on 6 June.
Matt and Sweat used the tools to cut through their cell walls and a pipe, before crawling to freedom through a manhole outside prison walls.
The men have been on the lam ever since, with authorities in hot pursuit. Despite numerous so-called breakthroughs in the manhunt, Matt and Sweat remain on the loose.
Mr Palmer has been “completely cooperative withe the investigation” and “wants these individuals caught”, his attorney said, according to NBC News.
A second hearing will be held for Mr Palmer on Thursday and he is expected to plead not guilty.
Mr Palmer has been charged with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of official misconduct. The charges carry prison terms ranging from 15 months to seven years.
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