— Prison inmates allowed to leave their cells with weapons borrowed
from guards carried out last week’s killings of 17 people in northern
federal attorney general’s office, said prison officials in the
northern state of Durango lent the inmates weapons and official
vehicles to carry out several tit-for-tat killings on behalf of
The deadliest was the
Authorities have so far not specified a motive for the attack, which also left 18 people wounded.
Mexican prisons, overcrowded and poorly run, are
violent hotbeds of criminal activity, including telephone extortion
schemes and drug operations. Allowing inmates out to act as hit men
would mark a new extreme.
Najera said inmates from the same prison, in the Durango city of
Four prison officials, including the director,
“The criminals carried out the execution as part of
a settling of accounts against members of rival gangs tied to organized
crime,” Najera said during a news conference. He said “innocent
civilians” also were killed.
The inmates returned to their cells after the attacks, Najera said.
It was not immediately clear how many prisoners or guards were allegedly involved in the shootings.
Federal authorities said their investigation of
guards at the Durango prison had turned up four AR-15 rifles that
matched shells collected from the
The charges point to the staggering official corruption confronting Mexican President
The anti-crime campaign, launched in late 2006,
already is beset by widespread police graft, especially at the state
and local levels, where many officers moonlight as enforcers for
said the episode was a reminder of the “state of deterioration”
afflicting many law-enforcement institutions at the local level.
Blake vowed that the investigation would seek to determine who gave the orders for “these cowardly and condemnable acts.”
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