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Mexican authorities reveal horrific details from deadly prison riot

February 13, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexican authorities reveal horrific details from deadly prison riot

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Mexican authorities have released details from the deadly prison riot that took place Thursday at a prison in Northern Mexico.

Angry family members gathered outside the Topo Chico in Monterrey, demanding information on loved ones after a riot that stemmed from a dispute between rival cartels claimed the lives of 52 people.

The fighting began shortly after midnight, flames lit the night sky and smoke was seen billowing from the building after prisoners ignited fires to a storage area.

Officials said the brawl transpired from a dispute involving a faction of the ruthless Los Zetas drug cartel led by Juan Pedro Zaldivar Farias, also known as ‘Z-27.” He is a suspect in the death of David Hartley; the U.S. citizen killed while jet skiing with his wife in 2010 on Falcone Lake, which covers the Texas-Mexico border.

Half the inmates at Topo Chico have been sentenced for minor offenses or are suspects still awaiting trial

Family members of inmates gathered outside the Topo Chico prison, desperate for news of their loved ones

The other group led by Jorge Ivan Hernandez Cantu, who is a known member of the Gulf cartel.

Inmates used batons, hammers, and makeshift shanks to attack each other in the riot. All of the 52 victims were either brutally clubbed, hacked or burned to death in the riot, with eleven more reported injured, officials said Friday.

Among the contraband recovered by authorities included 86 knives, 120 makeshift swords, and 60 hammers along with marijuana, cocaine and USB memory sticks.

The tragic incident highlights the power the cartels wield inside the country’s prison system. Back in September, a top member of Los Zetas was stabbed to death at the Topo Chico prison.

Mexican officials said nine bodies remain unidentified. Five of the bodies were so severely burned DNA testing must be conducted to find out the identities of the victims. The prison had no records of the other four victims even being at the detention facility.

Roberto Flores of the Attorney General’s Office of Nuevo Leon also announced the arrest of three jail guards on charges of murder and abuse of authority.

Flores stop short of revealing whether the guards are responsible for the death of any inmates. However, law enforcement sources said a bullet fired from a guard’s gun was discovered to have killed a prisoner.

The governor of Nuevo Leon admitted that inmates rule over the detention center, which lacked the sufficient number of guards to watch effectively over the prisoners

“People must realize there is self-rule throughout the entire penitentiary system, that is the reality.” Governor Jaime Rodriguez said at a news conference.

The fighting began around midnight with prisoners setting fire to a storage area, sending flames and smoke billowing into the sky

The fighting began around midnight with prisoners setting fire to a storage area, sending flames and smoke billowing into the sky

“Nobody wants to be a guard because of the meager pay,” Rodriguez said.

At least, half the prisoners at the overcrowded Topo Chico were convicted of or await trial for minor offenses and would remain housed with some Mexico’s most violent criminals, where inmates and their families are subjected to extortion.

One such case involved Victoria Casas Gutierrez, a cleaning lady who waited for hours for find out news of her 21-year-old son, Santiago Garza Casas, who was an inmate at the facility.

Garza was sent to the Topo Chico prison in September for missing a parole appointment and was immediately thrown into the jail population which includes convicted killers.

“They charge a tax, and if family members fail to pay a certain amount, they will beat them,’ Casas Gutierrez said.

She added, “payments can run into the thousands of pesos; sometimes we are forced to sell our homes.”

“There is vice inside and everything that happens inside of the prison walls is the fault of the authorities,” Guiterrez said.

The governor placed responsibility for the deadly incident on rampant corruption, “All this corruption inside the jail creates the conditions we have today.”

Governor of Nuevo Leon blamed corruption and the outdated prison system for the violence

The Governor of Nuevo Leon blamed corruption and the outdated prison system for the violent riot at the prison

Rodriguez also blamed the violence on “the old, outdated, obsolete system” used to run the Mexican prison system and suggested the country adopt a privately operated detention system employed in the U.S.

‘We have to think about efforts with a private initiative,’ he said. ‘We have not been doing rehabilitation work.’

Rodriguez went on to criticized judicial reforms that have given inmates greater ability to appeal transfer orders that could send them farther from their hometowns.

Zaldivar successfully fought to be moved to Topo Chico, while Hernandez had won a similar appeal against moving him elsewhere.

“What this is doing, is just creating further conflicts inside the prisons,” Rodriguez said.

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