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California jailbreak: "They let Hannibal Lecter out"

Warning: What you are about to hear is graphic
Escaped southern California prisoners have violent pasts 02:43

Some of what you are about to hear and read is graphic.

In a dramatic new warning about the danger posed by a southern California jailbreak, an Orange County prosecutor said of one of the escapees: "They let Hannibal Lecter out."

Jonathan Tieu, Bac Duong and Hossein Nayeri have been charged with federal felony counts of escaping prison. Authorities said they could be hiding out somewhere nearby and are considered armed and dangerous. So far, investigators have served 30 search warrants in the area, but have come up empty, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.

Manhunt for three California prisoners after daring jailbreak 02:26

"We know somebody out there knows something," said Lt. Jeff Hallock, the public information officer at the Orange County sheriff's department.

The department repeatedly asked the public for help Monday and sent a message to the Vietnamese community.

"It is extremely important for them to reach out to us and let us know because they are extremely armed and dangerous," Deputy Phuong Nguyen said.

Twenty-year-old Tieu, who is facing murder charges, is linked to a Vietnamese gang. Duong is also thought to have gang ties. The 43-year-old was being held on attempted murder charges.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nayeri is accused of kidnapping and torture. In 2012, Nayeri along with an accomplice allegedly tortured a man with fire.

"They also poured bleach all over him and in the end, he cut his penis off," Lt. Dave Sawyer said.

People who live in the community near the jail are frightened.

"If these people are that bad, how did they get out of jail?" one woman asked.

Orange County prosecutor Heather Brown says Nayeri's trial is set for next month.

"The acts that he committed are nothing short of diabolical," Brown said. "To lose him to this at the last minute is just unfathomable."

Authorities believe the men escaped from the Men's Central Jail Friday morning. They were being held in a cell with at least 60 other inmates. The escapees cut their way through a steel screen and entered the building's plumbing tunnels.

When asked by Villarreal what tools the escaped inmates used and how they obtained them, a deputy said he wasn't "ready to describe what they are at this point."

Law enforcement says the group rappelled off the roof, down nearly five floors, using a make-shift rope made of linens.

The new felony charges could put them in federal prison for up to a combined 15 years. Investigators are trying to find out how they got their tools, and if they had help getting out. So far, no one here at the sheriff's department has been put on leave or suspended in relation to the escape.

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