By Chris Covert
A total of 24 inmates were transferred from a prison in Altamira to other prisons in Tamaulipas state following a riot which took place last Sunday, according to Mexican news accounts.
According to a news account which appeared in Milenio news daily, the transfer took place Monday morning with tight security provided by Tamaulipas state police, Policia Federal Preventiva (PFP) and Mexican Army troops.
The report quoted a presumed security official, Maria Gonzalez Flores, saying that a brawl had taken place Sunday in the Centro de Ejecuciones de Sancciones (CEDES), which closed the prison to visitors for six hours.
A total of 19 inmates imprisoned for state crimes were to be transferred to the CEDES in Reynosa, while another five inmates serving time for federal crimes were to be transferred to a federal facility in Matamoros.
The Milenio report goes on to note that Tamaulipas' Secretaria de Seguridad Publica del Estado (SSPE) had released a statement on the disturbance. A statement had been released on the Tamaulipas state official government website by he SSPE last Monday, but only a mention of the reason for the transfer being the prevention of violence, not that a disturbance had occurred closing the prison to visitors for six hours.
The Milenio report also notes that no one was hurt in the disturbance and no weapons were used.
The prison transfer is the third action taken by Mexican Federal authorities of problems inside Tamaulipas prisons. Tamaulipas state is one of Mexico's most violent with an ongoing war entering its fourth year between the nascent Los Zetas drug cartel and their former employers, the Gulf Cartel.
Actions taken by the new federal government headed by President Enrique Pena Nieto indicate the security officials intend to regard Mexico's prisons as another battleground in the drug war.
Actions taken by government officials, or by drug cartels in prisons include:
- The closing of the Centro de Readaptacion Social (CERESO) Numero 2 in Gomez Palacio, Durango a day after a bloody attempted prison break in which 24 inmates were gunned down by prison guards last December. The action to close the prison taken by the Mexican federal Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB) or interior ministry, has left Durango state with the nearest prison to Gomez Palacio being in Durango city, the capital of Durango state, hundreds of kilometers to the west.
- Earlier in March the CEDES in Miguel Aleman was closed and all of its inmates transferred to a CEDES in Nuevo Laredo after a mass prison break. Fifteen armed suspects entered the prison and held prison staff at gunpoint as 12 inmates were freed late February.
- Last Sunday the CEDES in Ciudad Mante was closed with all of its state prison inmates transferred to Nuevo Laredo as well.
- Five prison inmates in the Nuevo Laredo CEDES were killed in a brawl last Sunday, including two who had been in the prison less than 24 hours before they died.