44 prisoners killed in Mexican prison riot
Zetas gang kills rival gang members and then escape
Members of the deadly Mexican drug cartel, the Zetas stabbed and beat to death 44 members of a rival gang before escaping with the help of prison guards. The prison's director and three other officials have been fired and are under investigation for allegedly aiding in the escape.
Prison guards in Mexico are vulnerable to corruption; they are poorly paid and in many cases, they and their families are vulnerable to threats because they live in the same poor neighborhoods where the cartels operate.
It's not yet known how the escape was carried out, but Medina noted that no members of any gang had broken into the prison to free their colleagues, as has happened at other Mexican prisons. There were no firearms smuggled into the facility and all of the killings apparently occurred with blunt instruments or improvised knives.
Medina did confirm that all 30 escaped inmates were linked to the Zetas cartel, a brutal gang founded by deserters from an elite Mexican military unit.
Medina said that 25 of the 30 were in the prison on federal charges, which often involve drug trafficking or illegal weapons possession. Medina offered a reward of almost $800,000 for information leading the arrest of those involved in the mass escape.
Medina said that the mass escape appeared to have been planned, and may have involved help from authorities at a specific point along the prison perimeter, known as Tower Six.
The Zetas and Gulf cartels were allies before splitting in 2010 before becoming bitter rivals, fighting turf battles in Monterrey and elsewhere in northeastern Mexico.
Medina responded to criticism that violent drug cartel suspects are often lodged in state prisons that are overcrowded and fail to meet the standards of the country's few maximum-security federal lockups.
"It would be very good for the state if a large number of federal inmates are transferred out, in light of the overcrowding we have," Medina said, noting that a lot of the inmates "are very highly dangerous."
In addition, prison guards in Mexico are vulnerable to corruption; they are poorly paid and in many cases, they and their families are vulnerable to threats because they live in the same poor neighborhoods where the cartels operate.
The prison, located in Apodaca, is part of the Monterrey metropolitan area that is Mexico's third-largest and that has long been the country's symbol of development and prosperity.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Zetas, drug cartels. prison riot, Mexico
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