'Don't blame the warden,' reads the sign held by a protester 'Don't blame the warden,' reads the sign held by a protester outside the Culiacán prison.

Prison warden suspended over escape of 55 inmates in Culiacán

He was the jail's eighth warden in less than three years

The warden of the prison from which 55 inmates escaped last week in Culiacán, Sinaloa, has been suspended.

Eduardo Arturo Bailleres Mendoza was dismissed on Saturday as warden of the Aguarato prison, becoming the eighth warden to quit or be fired since Governor Quirino Ordaz took office in January 2017.

Bailleres is under investigation after Thursday’s massive escape during a wave of violence in the Sinaloa capital after an attempt to arrest Sinaloa Cartel leader Ovidio Guzmán, son of convicted trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Security Secretary Cristobal Castañeda Camarillo said the break-out followed a riot during which inmates were able to take guns from five officers.

Six of the escaped inmates have been recaptured, and another four have turned themselves in voluntarily.

It remains unclear whether there was any connection between attacks across the city by the Sinaloa Cartel and the prison break, which occurred in the midst of the shootings.

The Aguarato jail has been the site of other high-profile escapes, but none as numerous as last Thursday’s.

Bailleres had taken charge of the jail 11 months ago, when the previous warden was sacked after the escape of two inmates who walked out of the jail dressed in police uniforms, apparently with the collaboration of jail personnel.

In March 2017, Juan José Esparragoza Monzón, the son of drug trafficker Juan José Esparragoza Moreno had escaped from the same prison.

After Bailleres’ departure was announced, a group of about 200 people gathered at the jail to express support for the fired warden and demand his reinstatement. The protesters, mostly family members of inmates, said that unlike other wardens, Bailleres was accommodating to the needs of visitors.

Source: El Universal (sp), Debate (sp), Proceso (sp)

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