Mexico: 30 Zetas Escaped in Prison Riot

And all those killed were rival gang members
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2012 3:53 PM CST
A police officer stands behind the fence as relatives of inmates wait for news after a prison riot at Apodaca prison on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico, Sunday Feb. 19, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hand Maximo Musielik)
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(Newser) – Yesterday's riot at a prison in northern Mexico not only killed 44 inmates, but also covered up the escape of 30 members of the infamous Zeta drug cartel, Mexican officials say. "Without a doubt there was premeditation," says the governor of Nuevo Leon, Rodrigo Medina. "This was planned." All of those killed in the riot were members of the rival Gulf Cartel, notes the Wall Street Journal. Police are offering $800,000 for information that leads to the capture of the escapees.

As the smoke clears, the riot continues to look like an inside job: Medina says that at least four top officials at the Apodaca prison outside Monterrey have been relieved of their duties, as have 18 guards who were on duty at the time of the riot. "It's difficult for us to confirm that the treason, corruption and complicity of some can obstruct the good work of police, soldiers, and sailors who everyday risk their life," said Medina. The jail-break is the Zetas' largest since they broke out 141 of their own from a Tamaulipas prison in 2010. (Read more Mexico stories.)

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