New Mexico

The Latest: New Mexico town boosts patrols for inmate search

The Latest on the escape of two violent inmates from a New Mexico prisoner transport van (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Police in a rural New Mexico town near the place where two violent felons escaped have placed extra officers on patrol to help with the search.

Artesia Police Commander Lindell Smith says his department's effort on Friday is centered in an area just beyond the city limits of the southeastern New Mexico city.

Officers are responding to more than the usual number of suspicious activity calls, given the high-level of concern stemming from the escape.

New Mexico State Police are leading the investigation into how inmates Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah could have escaped Wednesday night from a prisoner transport near Artesia while they were shackled and wearing white jump suits.

Cruz has been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder since 2007. Clah was convicted in 2009 of armed robbery and other crimes.


6:40 a.m.

Authorities in New Mexico are searching for a convicted murderer and another violent inmate who escaped from a prisoner transport van.

The Department of Corrections says 32-year-old Joseph Cruz and 29-year-old Lionel Clah escaped Wednesday night in the Roswell area. Details on how they escaped were not immediately released.

Cruz was convicted of first-degree murder and Clah was convicted of armed robbery and other crimes.

Cruz is Hispanic, 5-foot-5, 165 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. Clah is Native American, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds and has brown eyes and black hair.

Both have multiple tattoos and were bound in shackles and wearing white jumpsuits.

Authorities warn people in the Roswell and Artesia areas to lock their doors and not pick up hitchhikers.