US Marshals capture 2 federal prisoners who escaped from western Virginia US penitentiary

After nearly 3 weeks on the run, both escaped prisoners in custody in Mexico


WASHINGTON – Two federal prisoners who escaped from U.S. Penitentiary Lee in Lee County, Virginia, May 3 were apprehended in Mexico today.

U.S. Marshals worked closely with Mexican law enforcement authorities to locate and apprehend Salah Mohamed, 35, and Kamal Qazah, 37.

Qazah was sentenced in the Western District of North Carolina in 2012 to 18 years in prison for his role in a cigarette smuggling ring operating in North and South Carolina from August 2009 to November 2011.

Mohamed was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2012 to more than 20 years for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine hydrochloride, and heroin; conspiracy to ship, transport, receive, possess, sell, distribute, and purchase contraband cigarettes; and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Both Qazah’s and Mohamed’s original cases resulted from ATF investigations. After their escape this month, the U.S. Marshals and ATF each offered rewards for their capture.

The Marshals’ investigation spanned multiple states before focusing on Mexico.

When Mexican authorities return Qazah and Mohamed to the U.S., the U.S. Marshals will take the pair into custody.