NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted an inmate who authorities have identified as an alleged instigator of the May 20 prison riot at the Adams County Correctional Center that left a guard dead. The Natchez Democrat reports ( ) that Yoany Oriel Serrano-Bejarano has been charged with instigating and conspiring to cause the riot. Court records say prisoners were angry about their treatment the day the riot erupted.
In September, an FBI agent stated in an affidavit that Serrano-Bejarano was one of a number of inmates who stacked food carts in order to reach correctional officers on the roof of one of the prison’s buildings during the riot. Prison guard Catlin Carithers was assaulted on the roof and later died from his injuries. At least 20 people were injured. Authorities say Serrano-Bejarano had a prison staff radio during the riot, assaulted a hostage and contributed to the destruction at the facility. The prison holds nearly 2,500 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the United States. It’s owned by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies.
An FBI agent’s affidavit in the case said the riot was started by a group of Mexican inmates, known as Paisas, who were angry about what they considered poor food and medical care and disrespectful guards. Paisas are a loosely affiliated group within the prison, without ties to organized gangs, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said. Court records show Serrano-Bejarano was released from prison Aug. 28 for his previous crimes, but has been in federal custody since Sept. 5. Another inmate, Juan Lopez-Fuentes, pleaded guilty in August to charges related to the riot and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19.