Probable mastermind behind OC jail escape appears in court

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Hossein Nayeri, the 37-year-old alleged mastermind behind the Orange County jail escape was back in court on Tuesday.

In a 2012 case, Nayeri and other co-defendants were accused of kidnapping a pot shop owner from his Newport Beach home, along with the girlfriend of the victim's roommate.

The suspects allegedly drove them to the desert and tortured the man. Nayeri then allegedly fled to his native Iran and was later arrested in Prague.

His attorney Salvatore Ciulla said he's not sure how that case will be affected by the jail break, but admitted the publicity is a concern.

"We have to attempt to find jurors who have not been unduly influenced by what they've read, what they've heard," he said.

More than a week ago, Nayeri and two other inmates prompted an eight-day manhunt after they allegedly broke out of the Orange County Central Men's Jail.

Authorities suspect he helped kidnap a taxi driver and got into a fight with one of the other escapees over whether to kill the driver and bury his body.

Nayeri was arrested in San Francisco over the weekend and was transported back to Orange County.

Also arrested for allegedly smuggling tools into the jail to help with the escape was Loc Ba Nguyen.

Authorities allege the 50-year-old also gave the inmates a ride.

Nguyen, who was later released after posting $300,000 bail, was not at home on Tuesday.

His neighbors said he owns a construction company and is a husband and father of two teens - not an alleged accomplice in a crime.

"It doesn't sound like him at all," said neighbor Kyle Circle. "Not the kind of person I know and have conversations with...It's one of those things you are innocent until proven guilty."

Nguyen is expected to be back in court Feb. 22.

Nayeri's next court appearance is scheduled for the week after that on the escape-related charges.
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