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Two Hurt in Big Northeast Nevada Prison Camp Inmate Brawl

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two prison inmates were treated at a hospital and returned to state custody after a brawl involving about 40 of the 145 inmates at a minimum-security work camp in northeast Nevada, prison officials said Monday.

No shots were fired, but guards used pepper spray to try to quell the fighting that erupted about 9:15 p.m. Sunday at the Carlin Conservation Camp east of Elko, state Corrections Department spokeswoman Brooke Keast said.

Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies from surrounding areas were called to control the violence in and around a common recreation area at the remote facility. The prison is one of 10 facilities in Nevada that houses inmates who’ve demonstrated good behavior, are close to release and have been deemed non-violent.

Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts told the Elko Daily Free Press that inmates armed themselves with weapons fashioned from broom handles and towel racks. Pitts didn’t immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

There were no reports of injuries to prison guards or officers from other jurisdictions, Keast said.

State corrections chief James Dzurenda credited staff members with preventing serious injuries or damage.

Dzurenda characterized housing at a conservation camp a privilege for inmates, who live in dormitory-style housing instead of cells and are enlisted for seasonal jobs fighting wildfires, abating weeds and removing snow. Most of the state’s approximately 13,500 inmates live in seven more traditional prison facilities.

The injuries to the inmates — Sergio Potoyan and Oscar Barreras — weren’t believed to be life-threatening, Keast said. The injuries weren’t specified. Both men were moved Monday to the medium-security Lovelock Correctional Center.

Court records showed that Potoyan, 39, was sentenced in May in Las Vegas to 16 to 40 months in state prison for unlawful possession of an electronic scanning device.

Berreras, 31, has been in prison since December 2015, serving a 2-to-5 year sentence for auto theft, also from Las Vegas.
The corrections department said that about 20 other inmates believed to be involved in the fighting will be transferred to more secure facilities.

Department inspectors general were heading the investigation.

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