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High profile prisoner escape plan thwarted

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ST. GABRIEL - Prison leaders at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center foiled a plan that a high profile prisoner was concocting to escape. It happened after another inmate told prison guards about the plan, according to sources.

Terry Smith is one of seven inmates locked up, accused in one of two shootings, that led to the murders of two St. John Parish Deputies and the wounding of two more. That shooting happened in 2012.

Sources told the WBRZ Investigative Unit, Smith cut a hole in a cinder block wall, made gloves from boots and a vest from a sack and some legal papers. We've also learned Smith was in possession of survival guide tips.

The Department of Corrections confirms items were seized from Smith, and an investigation is underway.

Shawn Corliss has spent the past 15 years living across the street from Elayn Hunt. Despite the escape plan, Corliss says he sleeps well at night.

"I'm a gun owner, so it's not a problem," Corliss said. "Whenever you have prisoners, they are going to want to escape, doesn't matter what you do or how good you're doing it. They will figure out a way to escape."

Authorities linked Terry Smith to the sovereign citizen movement. Sovereign citizens don't believe in paying taxes and many believe government is illegitimate. The sovereign citizen movement has been labeled a domestic terrorism organization by the FBI.

The Department of Corrections says once their investigation is complete, all findings will be turned over to the district attorney. It's unclear how long that will take. However, the DA will make the decision on whether any additional charges will result.

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