|Apodaca Prison Warden and Guards being escorted during detention|
Just after 1 a.m., the guards opened the doors, and 30 men climbed up to guard tower No. 6 of the state prison outside the northern city of Monterrey. One by one, they slipped down ropes to waiting vehicles
Just after the men made their escape into the surrounding mountains, more guards opened more doors. This time, they let inmates belonging to the Zetas criminal gang surge from Cellblock C into Cellblock D, where their rivals in the Gulf Cartel were sleeping.
Over the next hour, Nuevo León State officials say, 44 prisoners — all believed to be part of the Gulf Cartel — were bludgeoned, beaten and stabbed to death.
Only two hours after the events began Sunday did jail officials at the Apodaca Prison alert state officials and the army.
“By the time we had the call for help, it was already past 3 in the morning, two hours after the escape and the fight,” said Jorge Domene, the state security spokesman, describing Sunday morning’s events. “By the time help arrived in response to the call, almost all the deaths had taken place,” he said, indicating that prison security cameras showed that more than 200 inmates had participated in the killings.
Officials in Nuevo León State said the jailbreak and the massacre had been carried out by the Zetas, the violent gang of drug enforcers who have turned against their former bosses in the Gulf Cartel and spread their reach over large parts of northern Mexico and the Gulf Coast.
The Zetas appeared to have the authorities at the Apodaca prison under their control. Investigators continued to question security guards Tuesday, and Mr. Domene told a radio interviewer that as many as 16 guards and officials had been implicated, including the prison’s warden, Gerónimo Miguel Andrés Martínez, and its chief of security, Óscar Deveze Laureano.
At least nine guards confessed to aiding the escape and the massacre directly and admitted that they had received $780 to $1,560 a month from the Zetas.
Officials said Tuesday that two men and a woman were stabbed to death Monday as they were waiting to be admitted to the Topo Chico jail, which is also in the state of Nuevo León.
The violence and corruption in Mexico’s overcrowded prison system have burst into public view with regularity since President Felipe Calderón started his crackdown on drug gangs more than five years ago.
In May 2009, 53 prisoners, many of them Zetas, walked out of a jail in the state of Zacatecas as guards looked on. In December 2010, 151 prisoners escaped from the jail in Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Texas. In July that year, the director of a prison in the northern city of Gómez Palacio was accused of allowing gangs out of the prison to commit murder-for-hire jobs using prison guards’ weapons and vehicles.
Of the 30 men who escaped early Sunday, 25 were convicted of federal crimes, said the Nuevo León governor, Rodrigo Medina. Among the escapees was Óscar Manuel Bernal Soriana, known as the Spider. Officials said he was a local Zeta leader with a reputation for bloodthirstiness who may have planned the jailbreak and ensuing massacre.
In his first comments on the Apodaca incident, Mr. Calderón said Tuesday that the prison systems in some states were “in crisis” and that the federal government was building new prisons, “an effort that has not been made in 20 years in Mexico.”
The following from Wikipedia:
|A woman attends wake of a loved one killed in the Apodaca prison riot|
The Apodaca prison riot was a deadly brawl that occurred on 19 February 2012 at a prison in Apodaca, Nuevo León, Mexico. Mexico City officials stated that at least 44 people were killed, with another twelve injured. The Blog del Narco, a blog that documents events and people of the Mexican Drug War anonymously, reported that the actual (unofficial) death toll may be more than 70 people.
The fight was between Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, two drug cartels that operate in northeastern Mexico. The governor of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina, mentioned on 20 February 2012 that more than 30 inmates escaped from the prison during the riot. One of the fugitives, Oscar Manuel alias La Araña ("The Spider"), is considered by the Mexican authorities to be "extremely dangerous," and is believed to be the leader of Los Zetas in the municipality of Monterrey.
The fight broke out around 2:00 a.m. local time between inmates in one high security cell block and inmates of another security cell block. The guards of the prison allowed the Zeta members to surge from Cellblock C into Cellblock D and attack the Gulf Cartel members, who were sleeping A guard was taken hostage during the melee, and mattresses were set on fire.
Security personnel regained control of the prison by 6:00 a.m. Each cell block contained roughly 750 inmates, with members of rival drug cartels normally separated Not all the prisoners were able to be counted, by the time the dead prisoners were counted, leading a public security spokesperson to speculate that the riot may have been started as a cover for a jail break.
It was later confirmed that the riot and brawl "served as cover for a massive jailbreak" for the members of the Zetas drug cartel, who attacked the Gulf Cartel inmates According to the The Wall Street Journal, the incident may be the deadliest prison riot in Mexican history.
El Universal mentioned that the prison riot in Apodaca has been the "gravest in the past five years" in Mexico. Mileno news, in addition, mentioned that the prisons in the state of Nuevo León are plagued with violence, and that they are "under the control of the criminal groups" that operate in the area.
The Apodaca prison was built to house 1,500 inmates, but had around 3,000 incarcerated at the time of the riot. "Worried and weeping relatives" gathered outside the prison to wait for news. After the split of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas in early 2010, both groups have been battling for Monterrey and other areas in northeastern Mexico .