(DETROIT) — A nationwide manhunt is underway for a career criminal who has twice escaped from jail by switching identities with other inmates.
Authorities did not notice Rocky Marquez, 34, was missing from a Detroit jail until five days after he walked out the front door undetected.
“Mr. Marquez does have a bit of a head start, but we have the best of the best working on this case and I’m confident Rocky will be put behind bars,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Frederick J. Freeman.
A fugitive apprehension team along with the U.S. Marshals and other police agencies are searching for Marquez.
According to police, on Jan. 20, Marquez switched ID wristbands with another inmate, who was about to be freed on bond. Marquez then simply walked out of the Wayne County jail.
“He’s smarter than your average criminal. He’s somehow getting inmates to cooperate with him to use their identities to walk out of jail,” Freeman said.
This was not the first time Marquez staged a jailbreak.
According to U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez, Marquez pulled the same stunt in a Phoenix prison eight months ago when he switched wristbands with another inmate who he had befriended and who had a similar complexion and build.
“He obviously has a penchant for getting out of jail and wanting to stay out of jail, but hopefully we can put an end to that run here soon,” Gonzalez said.
Marquez was arrested in Detroit after the U.S. Marshals tracked a car they believed he was using to the city.
Marquez, whose criminal record includes drug smuggling, perjury and witness tampering, was awaiting extradition to Phoenix when he escaped last week.
Officials from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said there would be an investigation into the reasons for Marquez’s escape.
“We have policies and procedures in place that should have prevented something like this from happening,” the sheriff’s office told ABC News.
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Larry Register, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Brian Stelter, CNN