NEWARK — An immigration detainee who escaped from the Essex County jail while taking out the trash has been caught after more than a week of being on the run.

Luis Cordon-Guzman, 31, who federal officials say is in the country illegally, escaped from the facility on Dec. 4.

Immigration officials said Cordon-Guzman made a break for it while he and other ICE detainees had been tasked with taking out the trash near a loading dock.

Cordon-Guzman climbed up a perimeter wall but by the time a jail guard noticed him and gave chase, it was too late, officials said.

County jail officials have not explained how Cordon-Guzman escaped but New Jersey 101.5 was able to get some of the details from the criminal complaint filed against Cordon-Guzman in U.S. District Court.

Cordon-Guzman had previously been deported to his native Guatemala after being arrested in Texas in April 2019.

Sometime after his deportation, Cordon-Guzman returned to the United States and wound up in Trenton, where he was arrested by police in March on charges of burglary and simple assault.

While Cordon-Guzman was being held at the Mercer County jail on the state charges, ICE filed a detainer request. A day after his arrest, he was transferred to the Essex County facility as an ICE detainee, the complaint says.

According to the criminal complaint filed by ICE, an immigration court in July found that Cordon-Guzman had established a reasonable fear of persecution if he were to return to Guatemala, a decision that federal Homeland Security continues to appeal.

ICE officials on Oct. 2 filed what is known as a decision to continue detention, which Cordon-Guzman was subject to on the day he escaped, the criminal complaint says.

ICE officials have not explained how or where Cordon-Guzman was found after his escape.

“As a result of the investigatory efforts of the dedicated men and women of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Newark Field Office, this criminal alien is back behind bars," Newark ICE-ERO Field Officer Director John Tsoukaris said in a written statement.

Tsoukaris said Cordon-Guzman was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service for an initial appearance before the U.S. magistrate on the pending federal criminal charges related to the escape.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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