New Mexico corrections officials are investigating why a career criminal with a history of armed felonies who escaped from a minimum-security “farm” on Monday was sent to the facility to begin with, reports the Albuquerque Journal. Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel said Ronald Martinez, 42, just “walked off” early in the morning. Martinez was featured in a Journal article about repeat offenders on Sunday. He wasn't free for long. A Valencia County Sheriff's Office deputy spotted Martinez, still in his prison-issued gray sweatsuit, late Monday morning. He spent 16 years in federal prison for two armed carjackings with a sawed-off shotgun, and he soon started picking up new state charges upon his release, including an arrest after someone he was with almost ran over a police officer.
Authorities said Martinez slipped out of his bed at the low-security section of the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas sometime after 2:30 a.m. and wasn't noticed missing until about 5 a.m. Officers searched nearby areas until he was spotted around 11 a.m. Martinez's escape wasn't very difficult. The part of the prison in which he was confined, which officials refer to as “the farm,” is designed to help low-level inmates reintegrate into the community and has only a few security measures. Federal prison officials considered him a danger to the community and said he refused to obey conditions of his release. Marcantel said New Mexico prisons have various security levels, and each inmate is assigned a level based on criminal history, behavior in prison and the time left on an offender's sentence, among other criteria. State prison officials use a point system to determine where an inmate is placed. Marcantel said he doesn't know yet why Martinez was assigned to a low-security facility but said he's looking into it.