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2 Tucson prison guards arrested for 'cover-up' of inmate attack

A pair of Arizona corrections officers were arrested when they showed up for work Thursday, charged with "helping to facilitate" an inmate-on-inmate assault the day before, officials said.

Javier Chavez and Alfredo Reyes, guards at the close-custody Cimarron Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson, are "suspected of having a complicit role in helping to facilitate and cover up an inmate-on-inmate assault on Wednesday," while they were on duty, officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections said.

The two were arrested by ADOC criminal investigators Thursday; both resigned from the department after their arrests, officials said.

After what was described as a "serious assault" of an inmate on Wednesday, ADOC investigators "discovered" that the two "may have had some involvement," a press release from the agency said.

"Video surveillance and other evidence collected by the investigators led to the swift arrest of Chavez and Reyes," ADOC said.

Chavez and Reyes "supervised and possibly assisted in the efforts by inmates to clean up the scene," and did not activate the prison's Incident Command System for more than an hour, officials said.

After that alarm was activated, other security and medical personnel responded to the incident, officials said. The inmate, whose name was not released, was taken to a local hospital, and remains in critical condition due to injuries from the attack.

ADOC personnel have also identified several inmates as "prime suspects " in the assault on the inmate and effort to remove evidence, officials said.

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“The alleged actions of these two individuals are nothing short of criminal and a disgrace to the correctional profession,” said ADC Director Charles Ryan. “ADC supports criminal prosecution to the fullest extent of the law in this matter.”

Both Chavez and Reyes were booked into the Pima County Jail, facing charges of conspiracy to commit dangerous/deadly assault by prisoner (class 2 felony), conspiracy to commit kidnapping (class 2 felony), endangerment (class 6 felony), and conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence (class 6 felony).

The Cimarron Unit, 10016 S. Wilmot Rd., holds about 600 inmates in a high-security facility.

In mid-June, an inmate at the Tucson prison died after he was stabbed by another inmate.

Richard Curley, 53, died June 15 after he was stabbed multiple times, officials said.

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Reyes, left, and Chavez