Gunmen help 53 inmates flee Mexico prison

May 18th, 2009 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 18 (EFE) Some 20 gunmen wearing police uniforms managed to enter a prison and helped 53 inmates escape in the northern Mexican state of Zacatecas, officials said.
The incident occurred Saturday in Cineguillas penitentiary, located some 30 km from provincial capital Zacatecas, and all the inmates who escaped belonged to the Gulf drug cartel, Zacatecas Governor Amalia Garcia said.

Authorities arrested 40 prison guards and the warden on suspicion that they assisted in the escape attempt, which took just five minutes and during which only one shot was fired, Garcia said.

“There are indications that the guards and prison officials may have acted in complicity with the criminal group,” Garcia said in a statement.

Videos from security cameras inside and outside the prison show that the gunmen got help from prison officials, the governor said.

“It’s clear that it was a perfectly planned operation that relied on the buying of favours,” Garcia said.

The federal police, backed by army troops, have launched an operation to recapture the escaped inmates, he added.

The Gulf drug cartel is one of the most dreaded and powerful drug trafficking organisations in Mexico, who are responsible for more than 1,700 deaths in drug-related violence this year.

Armed groups linked to drug cartels murdered around 1,500 people in 2006 and 2,700 people in 2007, with the 2008 death toll soaring to more than 6,000.

– Indo-Asian News Service


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