Remarks by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas
Case Against Three Inmate Escapees
February 1, 2016
Thank you all for coming.
Over the weekend and since the escapes began — more than 50 Orange County District Attorney Office personnel have been involved in the assistance of the investigation and the preparation for the cases relating to the jail escape.
The OCDA personnel worked around the clock, including:
• Reviewing, approving and coordinating with the court over 60 search and arrest warrants involving complicated legal issues dealing with social media technology, as well as physical locations
• Securing international warrants
• Providing legal expertise during interviews of arrestees and the investigation of the case
• Providing three surveillance teams 24/7 and other intermittent surveillance support
• Assigning one OCDA Investigator to U.S. Marshals Service, Investigations, Fugitive Task Forces
• Providing witness and law enforcement personnel with protection and relocation
• Coordinating with local police departments, who provided local support to OCSD by conducting interviews and residence/neighborhood checks
• Providing a crime analyst who worked with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center
Regarding Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu, and Bac Duon – the activities of the three and the possible crimes the three committed while they were out on the lam, that matter is still under investigation and I will not be discussing it at this time.
Tomorrow, Hossein Nayeri has a pretrial date in Department C-5.
Our plan right now is to go forward with Nayeri’s trial as scheduled on February 23rd for the torture and kidnapping case.
We will also answer ready for Tieu’s re-trial date on March 18 for gang-related special circumstances murder.
In the Tieu case, Tieu was an active participant but was not the shooter in the case.
The shooter’s name is Benjamin Nguyen.
Here is his photo and description.
I am adding Benjamin Nguyen to the OCDA’s Most Wanted List.
Please help us find and bring Benjamin Nguyen to justice.
We have been and continue to be ready to bring this case to justice.
We will also request to set Duong for trial on the attempted murder charges and take him to trial on the previous charges.
All three have a court date on their escape charges tomorrow and we will announce our decision tomorrow on what to do with those cases.
There have been multiple arrests of suspects related to the escape.
We filed charges against one defendant, Loc Ba Nguyen, for smuggling weapons into a correctional facility, sending an article useful for escape into a prison, aiding a prisoners’ escape, and the personal use of a knife.
The maximum sentence Nguyen faces is five years and four months in state prison.
He is due in court on Feb. 22, 2016.
As for Ms. Nooshafarin Ravaghi, the ESL teacher, we have requested further investigation from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
We have insufficient evidence to charge her with a crime at this time.
Information was released about a potential romantic relationship between Hossein Nayeri and Ms. Ravaghi based on some “love letters.”
Upon further observation, the love letters that were found in Ms. Ravaghi’s possession appears to be written by Hossein Nayeri, and not by Ms. Ravaghi.
It should also be noted that Ms. Ravaghi is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
Steps have been taken to reduce the risk of her leaving the jurisdiction.
I wanted to thank the public, law enforcement and the media all coming together to put these dangerous defendants back behind the bars.
We are actively working to investigate and consider charges on the three escapees, the ESL teacher, and others.
We will try to have updates as they become available.
Thank you for your patience.