A riot fueled by a confrontation between two gangs has left 49 inmates dead and 12 injured at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Nuevo León.
State Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón told a press conference this morning the fighting broke out at 11:30 last night and was brought under control two hours later.
Prisoners’ families began gathering outside the prison at midnight, where they heard explosions and gunfire and saw smoke rising from the facility after inmates set fire to a storage area.
Desperate to know what was going on inside, some threw rocks at the prison and shouted their demands for information.
“We saw the smoke, the fire, we heard the gunshots and the shouts, everything,” said one. “We’ve been here since midnight and no one wants to give us information . . . .”
It wasn’t until this morning that the information began coming out.
At the press conference, the governor said the dead were still being identified but their names would not be released until their families had been notified.
Rodríguez said no firearms were used during the riot and no prisoners had escaped, or attempted to do so.
He said the fight was between rival factions, one of which was headed by Juan Pedro Salvador Zaldívar, known as Z-27, a member of the Los Zetas drug cartel.
“We are experiencing a tragedy due to the conditions present in the penitentiaries,” he said.
He promised personal attention for the families of the victims and said there would be human rights officials present during the investigation into the incident.
Large numbers of police and military personnel were dispatched to the prison last night to bring the situation under control.
When Pope Francis visits Mexico beginning tomorrow, a prison visit is on his agenda when he travels to Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua.