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Carrillo, former Juárez Cartel chief, unhappy over prices. Carrillo, former Juárez Cartel chief, unhappy over prices.

Ex-drug lords object to pricey prison chips

Inmates write and complain to consumer watchdog agency

Imprisoned drug lords are among inmates who have raised their voices to object to the high price of chips in federal penitentiaries.

Pricey papitas, as chips and other fried goodies are known, have prompted 130 prisoners in two federal penitentiaries to write and complain to the head of the consumer protection agency, Profeco.

Signatories include former drug cartel bosses such as Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who led the Juárez Cartel; Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado, former leader of the Guerreros Unidos; and José Noé Barajas Esquivel, one-time operator in Michoacean for the Caballeros Templarios gang.

The inmates complain that prices of products including junk food, toiletries and stationery rose by an average of 20% after a reconfiguration in October of the stores in the penitentiaries.

“We’re forced to purchase food, hygiene and stationery products with an excessive and unjustified markup,” said the prisoners.

“We’re forced to because adequate nourishment is not provided, because there only exists one option that has a monopoly on the sale of products, because we need stationery products to communicate with our relatives and the courts in order to exercise our right to a defense,” continued the letter.

The inmates requested that realistic prices be charged in the penitentiaries and punishment for those who carry out what they called abuse, “because they can’t sell us things at whatever prices they decide just because we’re imprisoned in a federal facility.”

The protesters backed up their complaints with quotes from the Mexican constitution and general law on transparency, and the American convention on human rights.

The relatives of inmates in a federal penitentiary in Michoacán filed a similar complaint before Profeco, asserting that “we make an effort to give [the inmates] money because they’re all thin for having been given too little to eat and they gorge on junk food because they’re hungry.”

Source: Reforma (sp)

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