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Mexico inmates escaped through front door: officials

22 september 2012, 11:33
0
Police officers stand outside the jail after the escape of more than 130 inmates.  ©REUTERS
Police officers stand outside the jail after the escape of more than 130 inmates. ©REUTERS
The 131 Mexican inmates who escaped from a prison near the US border this week fled through the front door, not a tunnel as previously believed, AFP reports citing officials.

Coahuila state attorney general Homero Ramos said three captured fugitives confirmed suspicions that the Zetas drug cartel was behind Monday's escape, with help from the penitentiary's guards.

"They said they got out through the main door and that the Zetas were taking them to Tamaulipas," a state east of Coahuila on the Gulf of Mexico, Ramos said.

After catching two prisoners on Tuesday, authorities captured a third one on Wednesday in Monclova, a city some 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of the border town of Piedras Negras, where the prison is located.

With these captures, 128 inmates remain on the loose.

The prison's director and security chief were placed under 40-day detention on Wednesday as prosecutors investigate their possible role in the escape.

Jorge Luis Moran, Coahuila's public security secretary, said the testimony from the captured inmates confirms the belief that "such a quantity of inmates could not have escaped through this tunnel."

Officials allowed journalists to go through the seven-meter-long (22-foot-long) tunnel, which started in the prison's carpentry workshop and surfaced outside the northern watchtower.

Authorities believe the Zetas organized the escape to replenish its ranks with new members.

The Zetas, founded by military deserters, have waged a brutal turf war for lucrative drug trafficking routes to the United States against their former bosses, the Gulf Cartel.

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