Geronimo Espericueta escaped from jail in Arkansas last week, and authorities were still trying to round him up on Thursday. But in between those two dates, something odd happened—authorities actually caught the 47-year-old, but accidentally set him free, reports the Albuquerque Journal. The weird saga began when Espericueta and another inmate escaped from the Pulaski County Detention Center in Little Rock by busting through a bathroom ceiling. Authorities say an accomplice picked them up in a car and headed west, and the inmates were recaptured in New Mexico within 48 hours. That’s when the glitch happened.
It seems a State Police officer in New Mexico filed Espericueta’s paperwork in a box destined for District Court, instead of Magistrate Court. When a judge in the latter court had no paperwork for the case, she ruled that Espericueta could no longer be detained. As a result, the Dona Ana County Detention Center cut him loose. Espericueta is a federal inmate facing drug charges, and the US Marshals Service is now working with the State Police to recapture him. Again. A police spokesman tells the Las Cruces Sun News that he was last seen wearing “a gray shirt, gray shorts, black shoes, black glasses, and a black hat.” And possibly a large smile? (A similar thing just happened in Florida.)