132 inmates break out of Mexican prison

2012-09-18 11:10
A group of Mexican federal police stand in front of the prison in Piedras Negras, Mexico, where authorities say 132 inmates have escaped. (Adriana Alvarado, AP)

A group of Mexican federal police stand in front of the prison in Piedras Negras, Mexico, where authorities say 132 inmates have escaped. (Adriana Alvarado, AP)

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Torreon - At least 132 inmates escaped from a Mexican prison near the US border on Monday, fleeing through a tunnel they dug in the old carpentry workshop, the state prosecutor's office said.

Federal, state and local police, as well as the Mexican army, were deployed to roads and highways near the correctional facility in Piedras Negras, a town bordering the Texas town of Eagle Pass, to look for those who fled.

US authorities were told about the escape so they could take precautionary measures, the Coahuila state attorney general's office said in a statement.

The prison's director, security chief and shift guard were questioned over the escape and authorities have asked a judge to issue a detention order against the three.

The tunnel used by the prisoners was 2.90m deep, 1.2m wide and 7m long, and its exit hole was at the prison's northern tower, the statement said.

After emerging from the tunnel, "they cut a wire fence from where, according to prison authorities, the convicts got out one by one and reached a vacant lot", the statement said.

The prosecutor's office said 86 of the inmates were in prison for federal crimes while the 46 others faced different charges.

The state government offered rewards of $15 600 for information leading up to the capture of each inmate.

Several mass prison breaks have taken place in Mexico since 2010. The biggest to date was on 17 December 2010, when 141 inmates escaped from the Nuevo Laredo prison in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

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