52 dead in riot at Mexico’s Topo Chico prison

What started as a late-night fight between leaders of rival gangs spiraled into a massive prison riot in northern Mexico that left dozens dead, officials said.

The riot killed 52 people inside Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, a spokesman for the state’s governor told reporters Thursday afternoon. Authorities initially announced a higher death toll, but later corrected that figure.

Twelve others were injured, including five who are in critical condition, he said.

Mexico’s official National Human Rights Commission reported in 2013 that the country’s prison system is plagued by violence and cases of inmate control, symptoms of corruption and lack of resources.

The report, based on visits and interviews at 101 of Mexico’s most populated prisons, found that 65 of the facilities were run by inmates, not authorities.

In one of the worst incidents in 25 years, 44 inmates died in a prison massacre in February 2012 in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon. After the incident, three top prison officials and 26 guards were accused of helping inmates escape in the confusion. The governor of Nuevo Leon state says 52 inmates were killed and 12 injured in a brutal fight between two rival factions Thursday at a prison in northern Mexico.

The violence that convulsed Topo Chico prison, in the city of Monterrey, involved clashes between members of rival factions of the notorious Zetas cartel.

It was the worst such clash since 44 members of the Gulf cartel were killed in a similar 2014 battle, also in the state of Nuevo Léon.

Authorities recovered some 60 hammers, 86 knives and 120 shivs used in the deadly fracas, which they believe was a turf war within the complex. It began after a group of inmates set fire to a storage area in the facility.

 

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