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132 inmates flee Mexican prison near U.S. border

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 18th, 2012
Catholic Online (

More than 130 inmates have escaped from the Piedras Negras state prison in northern Mexico. Federal police and soldiers are now scouring the area, which is close to the U.S. - Mexico border. In addition, investigators have detained the prisoner director in addition to two other employees for questioning in the massive breakout.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's estimated that the exact number of escapes is 132. Police units and Mexican army convoys were deployed outside the city, which sits across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Authorities in Coahuila state offered rewards of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrests of each prisoner.

The escape, which represents almost a fifth of the prison's population, unfolded through a tunnel 21 feet long and 4 feet in diameter and let loose more than 80 inmates who were serving sentences or awaiting verdicts for federal crimes, such as drug trafficking.

Relatives and the friends of the prison escapees huddled outside in order for news and recent developments. Eighty-six of the inmates were serving sentences or pending trials for federal crimes, such as drug trafficking. The rest faced state charges. No details on how the prisoners were able to make their escape have yet been released.

Coahuila has seen a wave of violence tied to the brutal Zetas cartel's battles with the Sinaloa cartel, allies of the now weakened Gulf Cartel. Authorities didn't say which gang was believed to be behind the prison break.

Gulf cartel leader Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez was arrested last week, leading experts to anticipate an increase in violence in parts of northern Mexico as the Zetas Cartel attempted to take over turf.

The largest such prison outbreak to occur in Mexico occurred in December 2010, when 153 inmates escaped from a prison in the northern city of Nuevo Laredo, right across Laredo, Texas.

Authorities charged 41 guards with aiding the inmates in that escape. Mexico's drug gangs frequently try to break their members out of prison.

Three of the inmates - all female have since been found by authorities hiding in a visiting area of the facility.


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