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The state prison in Culiacán. The state prison in Culiacán.

7 escapes in 16 months from Culiacán jail with aid of personnel

Six of the seven were members of the Sinaloa Cartel

Seven highly dangerous prisoners have escaped over the last 16 months from the state penitentiary in Culiacán, Sinaloa, aided by prison personnel, according to a report today by El Universal.

The most recent escape was early Sunday morning when two inmates left the facility dressed in the uniforms of prison guards.

They, like the other five escapees, were federal prisoners in a jail intended for inmates accused or convicted of state crimes.

Of the 2,233 inmates, 560 are being held under the federal justice system.

And while the Culiacán penitentiary has been equipped to serve as a holding facility for federal prisoners, having a mixed population complicates security measures.

Public Security Secretary Fermín Hernández Montealegre explained that during the last year the state had repeatedly requested the transfer of 10 inmates to federal facilities, including the two newest fugitives.

Among five inmates who escaped in March last year were Juan José Esparragoza Monzón and Francisco Zazueta Rosales. The former was a financial operator with the Sinaloa Cartel and the latter the chief bodyguard of the sons of former boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

Zazueta had been interned at the Culiacán penitentiary for just one month at the time of the escape.

The escapees fled with the help of the facility’s head guard, José Mario Murillo Rodríguez, who left the penitentiary with his former prisoners.

The investigation that followed revealed a lush lifestyle the inmates enjoyed: large-screen TVs, DVD players, PlayStation and 8 Xbox video game consoles and several mobile phones were among the devices found.

It was also reported that the day before the escape the inmates had held a party with bands, liquor and visiting women.

Six of the seven inmates who have escaped from the jail were members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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