Mexican Prison Guards 'Freed Inmates to Kill'
Inmates given guns to carry out party massacre
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2010 3:41 AM CDT
Updated Jul 26, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
Chairs are seen scattered at a house where gunmen killed 17 people at a party in Mexico's Coahuila state last week.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Mexican prison guards let inmates out of their cells, gave them guns, and sent them off in official vehicles to carry out killings on behalf of drug cartels, according to Mexican authorities. Four prison officials have been placed under house arrest as the killings—including the massacre of 17 people at a party last week—are investigated, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The hit squad is believed to have been involved in at least two other mass shootings in northern Mexico.The inmates-turned-hitmen returned to their cells after the killings, authorities say. The inmates "were allowed to leave with authorization of the prison director" in order "to carry out instructions for revenge attacks using official vehicles and using guards' weapons for executions," said a government official.