Prisoner Phoday Dumbuya escapes from officers at Denver International Airport before being deported

ICE reviewing policies after DIA escape

DENVER - A prisoner is on the run after escaping officers who were taking him to be deported at Denver International Airport.

Phoday Dumbuya, 25, was being deported to Gambia when he escaped at approximately 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was being escorted by two officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A written statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Carl Rusnok didn't explain how Dumbuya got away, but said the two officers and cops at the airport were unsuccessful in tracking him down.

Runsok also added that Dumbuya was not handcuffed, at the discretion of the escorting officer. He declined to discuss other issues of the security arrangement.

Runsok told 7NEWS that ICE is considering actions to prevent future escapes.

Dumbuya is described as a black male. He is 6-foot-1 and weighs approximately 175 pounds. He was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans.

Dumbuya was convicted in Denver for assault in August 2008 and sentenced to two years of probation. The affidavit for that crime said he head butted a woman, then punched her repeatedly after she fell to the ground. The victim also told police Dumbuya had threatened to kill her before leaving the home.


Following the escape, 7NEWS asked questions about the deportation procedures currently in place.

Veteran retired customs officer John Sampson describes the escape as rare. 

"There could be years that go by with none of this happening," said Sampson, who served for more than 27 years.

7NEWS discovered special aircraft are used to transport violent offenders like murderers.

Yet in the case of Dumbuya, who had a lesser assault on his record -- commercial flights are taken.  The deportee is given very little notice.  It’s not usual for the deportee not to be in handcuffs.

"I would not handcuff someone whose demeanor was cooperative," said Sampson.  "It's a case by case basis," he said.

"You have to understand the removal from the United States is an administrative matter, it's not a criminal matter," said Simpson.

Anyone who has information about Dumbuya's whereabouts is asked to call 720-873-2828.

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