The Public Safety Department of Tamaulipas has reported the escape of 85 federal prisoners and the disappearance of two guards from the Reynosa CEDES prison.
In a press conference Antonio Garza Garcia, the newly appointed Director of Public Security who replaced the previous ineffective director this past Tuesday, said the jailbreak was reported about 4:30 a.m. Friday, when the prisoners used a ladder to jump the fence of the prison and escape into the streets of nearby residential neighborhoods.
Garza Garcia said 44 prison personnel being temporarily held for questioning by investigators with the federal Attorney General's office (PGR) to determine if any or all will be punished for crimes of omission(negligence)and corruption.
The prison warden, Guadalupe Reyes Ortega, who was not present and considered unaccounted for during the jailbreak, is currently being investigated by state judicial authorities.
During the press conference Hugo Andrés Araujo, a top state official said that of the escaped prisoners, 66 were cartel members under federal jurisdiction and the remainder were serving state sentences.
The Director of Public Security Secretary stated since March of this year, a total of 201 inmates have escaped Tamaulipas prisons, the majority from Reynosa and Matamoros.
The jailbreak follows a scandal in July, when authorities discovered that prison officials had allowed convicts out of a prison in northwestern Durango state to carry out revenge attacks before returning to cells for the night.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who sent thousands of troops across the country to fight drug gangs, has vowed to clean up prisons that in the past have allowed jailed drug lords to live in luxury or escape when they please.
But the conservative leader has struggled to contain corruption and lawlessness in the Mexican prison system.
Officials say rising drug violence across Mexico is a sign the army is weakening powerful cartels, but Calderon is under enormous pressure to stop escalating drug violence that has killed over 28,000 people since late 2006.
The murders of 25 people by suspected hitmen in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, on Thursday was the bloodiest day in almost three years in an area gripped by an escalating drug war, officials said on Friday.
Gunmen burst into several houses in Ciudad Juarez and shot people accused of working for rival drug gangs, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office said on Friday.
Four bystanders were also killed on Thursday as a convoy of hitmen shot its way out of traffic in Ciudad Juarez, local newspaper El Diario said. Police declined to confirm that report, but said 25 people had died in drug violence, in the worst single day of killings in Ciudad Juarez since January 2008, when recent drug murders began.
Sources: El norte, El Universal, Reuters