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Desperado Back In Texas

Senior U.S. Republican Senator from Arizona and presidential hopeful, John McCain (R) gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, 01 April 2007. McCain and a group of US Congressman are on a visit to the war-torn country.
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The admitted ringleader of the inmates who escaped from a Texas prison left Colorado the way he came in — quietly.

"It was uneventful. He was most cooperative," Teller County Sheriff Frank Fehn said Thursday.

George Rivas was placed in a Ford Expedition by two U.S. Marshals about 7:15 a.m. MST Thursday, with two unmarked sheriff's cars carrying two deputies each escorting the sports utility vehicle.

After a delay at an undisclosed Colorado Springs airport, Rivas was flown to Dallas where he was to arrive about 11:15 a.m. MST, Fehn said.

Rivas' feet were shackled and his hands were cuffed as he left in jail issued clothing.

"He thanked us for our courtesy," Fehn said.

Plans to return Rivas, the mastermind of the Dec. 13 break out from a maximum-security prison southeast of San Antonio, have been kept secret.

Tina Rowe, U.S. Marshal for Colorado, confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. Marshal's Service would help transport Rivas to Texas, but said the service would not provide a time.

The U.S. Marshal's Service has its own airplanes and pilots to transport prisoners across the country and around the world, she said.

According to the service's Web site, it is the only government-operated, scheduled passenger airline in the nation, serving 40 cities. Deputy marshals, aviation enforcement officers and aviation safety officers are stationed throughout the planes during transports and prisoners wear handcuffs and leg irons in the cabin.

Rowe would not say where the service's planes are based in Colorado.

A judge ruled last week that Rivas, the only one of the remaining six suspects who is not delaying extradition to Texas, must be returned by Feb. 5.

Extradition warrants for the six reached authorities on Monday, a week after four of them were arrested at the Woodland Park RV park where they had been living for three weeks.

Larry Harper, 37, killed himself that day as a SWAT team closed in on the fugitives' motor home.

Patrick Murphy, 39, and Donald Newbury, 38, who were arrested early Jan. 24 at a Colorado Springs hotel, are scheduled for a Feb. 12 hearing.

Michael Rodriguez, 38, Joseph Garcia and Randy Halprin, both 29, were scheduled for a Feb. 26 extradition hearing but a prosecutor wants to move up the schedule.

Rivas and the other inmates will be returned to the Dallas County sheriff's office. They face capital murder charges for allegedly killing a suburban Dallas police officer while holding up a sporting goods store on Dec. 24.

In an interview published Thursday in the Houston Chronicle, Rivas said one of escapees arranged for the purchase of the GMC Suburban that was left at a Wal-Mart store parking lot in Kenedy.

"Friday or Saturday before the escape he got a letter saying it would be there," Rivas said from jail in Divide, Colo. He declined to identify which one of the seven arranged it.

Txas prison officials have said they were looking for a couple they believe bought the truck left in a Wal-Mart parking lot for use as the Connally Unit escapees' getaway car.

By COLLEEN SLEVIN
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