Three killed in latest prison riot in northern Mexico

February 22nd, 2012 - 9:37 pm ICT by BNO News  

MONTERREY, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) — Three inmates were killed on Tuesday when a riot broke out at a prison near the metropolitan area of Monterrey in northern Mexico, an official said on Wednesday. It comes days after another deadly riot.

Nuevo León state security spokesman Jorge Domene Zembrano said the three inmates had entered the Topo Chico prison on Monday on kidnapping charges. He told the Milenio newspaper that those killed were identified as 18-year-old Jorge Eduardo González Salas, 24-year-old Alan Josué González Rojas, and a 24-year-old woman named Dewin Vianey Rojas Martinez.

Domene said the two men were in the area of observation and the woman in the nursery, waiting for a cell, when the incident happened, but few details were immediately released. Two prisoners were arrested, but authorities are still investigating the cause of the incident.

Tuesday’s riot comes days after a more deadly riot at a prison in Apodaca, a city northeast of Monterrey. The riot broke out at around 2 a.m. local time on Sunday after a discussion between two inmates, purportedly between two rival members of the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels, escalated.

Zembrano previously said the riot was likely triggered as a distraction, as 30 inmates were later reported missing, 25 of them under federal jurisdiction. Authorities have announced a 10 million pesos ($786,000) reward for information leading to their arrests.

Following the incident on Sunday, seventeen prison guards, as well as prison chief Gilberto Ceseña, were all arrested and are currently being investigated. Zembrano also questioned how prison cells were open at such hours of the morning, which ultimately led to the deadly riot.

Personnel from the State Human Rights Commission are investigating the incident as the riot is the deadliest in Nuevo León’s history.

Prison outbreaks and prison riots occur frequently in Mexico. In early January, 31 inmates were killed when two groups of inmates clashed at a penitentiary in the municipality of Altamira, which is located at the southern tip of the state of Tamaulipas and on the Gulf of Mexico. Local authorities said the inmates used self-made weapons during the fight.

And in mid-October 2011, a total of 20 inmates were killed when two inmates began fighting at a prison in the city of Matamoros, located in the state of Tamaulipas near the U.S. border. Other inmates joined the fight.

Mexico has been struggling to cope with an influx of criminals as President Felipe Calderón continues with his campaign against organized crime and drug cartels. According to official figures, at least 12,903 people died as a result of drug-related violence between January and September 2011, although figures for the entire year are not yet available. This will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.

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