Federal inmate who escaped in Woodford tied to Mass. drug gang

Derek A. Capozzi
Derek A. Capozzi

An inmate who escaped from a prison van in Woodford County early Thursday has ties to a Massachusetts drug gang.

Derek Capozzi, 37, was convicted by a federal jury in 2005 of helping to cover up the killing of Aislin Silva, 19, of Medford, Mass, according to The Boston Globe.

As of late Thursday, police were continuing their search for Capozzi, whom they described as "extremely dangerous."

The Globe said Silva was killed by a Mafia-connected gang of drug dealers and thieves known as the Decologero Crew. The gang feared Silva might cooperate with authorities, according to the article. Capozzi helped to hack her body into pieces and bury them after a fellow mobster strangled her. Capozzi was serving a 23-year sentence, the report says.

According to police, Capozzi was being transported from the Grayson County jail to Lexington's Blue Grass Airport on Thursday so he could be flown to an out-of-state facility. The driver also needed to pick up another inmate at the Woodford County jail.

Capozzi somehow got the back door of the van unlocked as it was turning onto the Ky. 33 exit off the Bluegrass Parkway.

Versailles police spokesman Pat Melton said Capozzi was wearing a white T-shirt and khaki pants when he escaped. He had somehow gotten out of his shackles, too. An investigation of how Capozzi removed his restraints is under way, Melton said.

Because of the escape, Woodford County Schools were placed on lockdown, Melton said.

The school district also decided not to send students home on buses, and parents were told to pick up their children, Superintendent Scott Hawkins said.

Woodford schools and buses will run on their normal schedules Friday, the district said late Thursday. But all schools will operate in lockdown mode, with no students allowed outside buildings until Capozzi has been caught.

Melton told The Associated Press that authorities were still searching for Capozzi late Thursday and thought he was in the area where he escaped.

"We've had a couple recent sightings and just found some other evidence, so I think we're close," Melton said.

Massachusetts authorities were alerted to the escape.

"He is a bad guy, and hopefully, he'll be caught quick," Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Dawson, a spokesman for the agency's Boston office, told the Globe. "He is extremely dangerous."

Along with serving time for his role in the Silva murder, Capozzi was serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted of attempted extortion and illegal firearms charges in 2003.

Prosecutors were able to convict Capozzi and five others in the Silva case using hair and blood found in a dumpster in 1997.

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