29 prison personnel held over Mexico massacre


Monterrey (Mexico) : Three prison officials and 26 guards at the Apodaca state penitentiary in the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon are being held in preventive detention for their alleged complicity in last weekend’s massacre of 44 inmates and the escape of 30 prisoners.

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The detainees are the prison’s warden, Geronimo Miguel Andres Martinez; deputy warden, Juan Hernandez Hernandez; and security chief, Oscar Laureno Deveze, the spokesman for the Nuevo Leon Security Council, Jorge Domene, said at a press conference Wednesday.

He added that the 29 detainees, who are being held without formal charges under the controversial Mexican legal instrument known as “arraigo”, are under investigation for wilfully allowing the prisoners escape.

Nuevo Leon Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said authorities have investigated 55 people thus far in connection with the killings and breakout, adding that the number may rise in the coming days.

“The investigations are continuing and we’re not ruling out that a higher number of people may be detained…,” De la Garza said.

“We can deduce at this time that there was no fight but rather murders were committed with direct attacks on certain people who were there,” De la Garza said, adding that “some of the detainees directly participated in the prison break.”

Early Sunday, members of the Los Zetas drug cartel killed 44 prisoners purportedly linked to the Gulf drug cartel at Apodaca. The victims were fatally stabbed with sharp objects, stoned or bludgeoned to death.

The Zetas, a band of special forces deserters turned outlaws, spent years as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel before going into business for themselves.

A turf war between those two drug cartels and clashes pitting criminals against the security forces claimed some 2,000 lives in Nuevo Leon last year.