Police and border patrol officials are currently searching for 132 inmates that broke out of the Piedras Negras prison state prison, in Coahuila, on Monday.
The prisoners crawled through a tunnel, 21 feet (6,4 m) long and 4 feet (1,2 m) in diameter, and made their way to freedom. The 132 men represented about a fifth of the 730 men population in the prison of Coahuila.
This is the most notable escape that the Mexican prison system has registered in years. 86 of the felons were convicted or awaiting prosecution on federal charges, such as drug trafficking, the Atlantic Wire
Homero Ramos Gloria, Coahuila's State Attorney General, expressed his concern for public safety, as he considers the prisoners dangerous. Jorge Luis Moran, chief of public security in Coahuila, stated that he believed the inmates had help from corrupt prison guards.
According to the Atlantic Wire, in Mexican prisons, a selected few have access to “luxury cells.” An inspection on one of these cells at a prison near Acapulco revealed that prisoners there were hiding plasma television sets, marijuana and, oddly, 19 “girlfriends.”
Authorities in Coahuila link the escape to turf wars between the local gangs and drug cartels operating in neighboring areas – the Zetas, their rivals, the Sinaloa cartel, and Gulf Cartel, allies of the Sinaloans.
In the past, the Zetas had been known to stage riots that facilitated their members' escape. In one occasion, after a riot at the maximum-security prison in Apodaca, 30 members of the drug cartel escaped, leaving behind 44 dead bodies, all belonging to the Gulf Cartel rival crew.
U.S. order patrol officers are offering $15,000 (€11,500) for any information that could help them apprehend the men that escaped. This gesture only highlights the fact that U.S. officials are concerned about the escaped convicts' intentions to cross the border to Texas.