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Inmate on the lam from U.S. Penitentiary in Lee County

Walter Littrell • Feb 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

HICKORY FLATS — Authorities are searching for an inmate who apparently walked away from the minimum-security federal prison camp at Hickory Flats in Lee County on Monday.

A news release from the U.S. Penitentiary, Lee County, states that on Monday inmate Edward Porta was determined to be missing by institution staff at their 4 p.m. count.

Federal, state and local authorities were notified, and the investigation continues.

Porta is described as a white male, approximately 6 feet tall, weighing 172 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes.

Todd Sloop, public information officer at the prison, said Porta was sentenced from South Carolina on a charge of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Export Credit Guarantee program.

The inmate had approximately two years left on a 38-month sentence, with an expected release date of April 15, 2010.

Rather than say whether Porta could be considered dangerous, Sloop said he was considered a minimum-security inmate and that he was housed in the minimum-security camp portion of the prison.

As the investigation into his escape is still under way, Sloop could not give details on whether or not Porta may still be in the area or where he could be heading while on the lam.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Porta is encouraged to contact the prison at (276) 546-0150.

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