SAN SALVADOR – A hitwoman who escaped from a Guatemalan prison will be returned to the neighboring country in the coming hours, the director of the Salvadoran police said Thursday.
Marixa Lemus, known as “La Patrona” (The Boss Lady), is to be handed over to Guatemalan authorities at the Las Chinamas border crossing, Howard Cotto said.
Lemus, the leader of a gang of kidnappers and killers-for-hire, escaped two weeks ago from a Guatemalan military prison and was detained early Thursday in the western Salvadoran province of Ahuachapan, where she has family.
Salvadoran police had kept three different residences in Ahuachapan under surveillance from the moment of Lemus’ escape, Cotto said.
Lemus told reporters here that she fled the military prison because she feared for her life.
“I can’t be in a prison where my life is in danger, because there are people interested in taking my life, as they killed my daughter,” she said.
Guatemalan authorities moved Lemus to the military prison last year after her failed attempt to escape from the Santa Teresa women’s penitentiary on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
La Patrona was sentenced to 94 years behind bars for murder, kidnapping, and racketeering.
Her sister and accomplice, Sonia Lemus, was likewise sentenced to 94 years. Six ex-cops who were part of the gang are serving jail terms ranging from 16 to 50 years.
The head of Guatemala’s prison service was fired after La Patrona’s escape, while eight guards were arrested on suspicion of adding the fugitive.
Marixa Lemus’ attorney is also in custody.