MEXICO CITY – Forty-one inmates escaped early Thursday from a prison in the northern Mexican city of Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, the public safety secretary in Tamaulipas state said.
All but three of the escapees were defendants facing charges for federal offenses including murder and kidnapping, Ives Soberon Tijerina told a press conference.
He said the escape unfolded between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. and that two guards left along with the inmates.
Soberon said he fired Matamoros warden Jaime Cano and the director of the Tamaulipas prison service, Orlando Sauceda, in the aftermath of the mass breakout.
The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating some 100 guards and administrative employees for possible collusion with the escapees, the public safety secretary said, adding that a select police unit was placed in charge of the prison.
Tamaulipas authorities also requested help from federal police in tightening security at other prisons in the state.
The mass escape comes against the backdrop of a fierce battle between the Gulf drug cartel and former allies Los Zetas to control smuggling routes and retail sales in Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state. EFE