By Jason Buch
A border sheriff has released the names and pictures of 151 people who escaped from a Mexican prison in December.
That count is up from early official tallies of 141, and the Mexican attorney general has said that 153 people escaped from the prison in Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo.
The attorney general's office also announced this week that it is bringing formal charges against 41 prison guards accused of aiding the escapees.
The Dec. 17 escape from Centro de Ejecución de Sentencias No. 2, known by its acronym CEDES, has been attributed to the Zetas drug gang that controls Nuevo Laredo. Among the escapees named by the Webb County Sheriff's Office is the nephew of a high-ranking Zeta and several prisoners who were accused of killing Zeta rivals who were being held at CEDES.
The Zetas orchestrated the escape to swell ranks that have been thinned in their war with their former allies, the Gulf Cartel, to control drug trafficking lanes in northeast Mexico, according to the intelligence and security firm Grupo Savant.
Among the escapees is Orlando Monsivais Treviño, 28, a nephew of Zeta second-in-command Miguel “El 40” Treviño Morales.
Also among the escapees is Jose Manuel Garcia Briones, who was charged with the February 2009 death at the prison of Jesus Gonzalez III, a U.S. citizen who was facing extradition to the U.S. on charges that he'd helped carry out hits ordered by Treviño Morales during 2005 and 2006. Gonzalez had been accused by Mexican authorities of working for Garcia Briones.
Other escapees were prisoners charged with the April 2009 killing of an accused hit man for the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the Zetas' rivals, and the accused killers of four Zeta imposters who had used the gang's reputation to intimidate their victims. One of the kidnappers told his victims that he was Treviño Morales, the Laredo Morning Times reported.