The Ciudad Victoria escapees: all but two of the inmates pictured remain at large. The Ciudad Victoria escapees: all but two of the inmates pictured are on the run.

Stores operated in self-governing prison

17 of the 29 inmates who escaped from Tamaulipas jail remain at large

Authorities in Tamaulipas have shut down a beer store that was operating inside the Ciudad Victoria prison where 29 inmates escaped early yesterday morning.

A search of the jail by Public Security officials found a number of wooden buildings constructed illegally on prison property from which small businesses sold food, beer and refreshments.

The construction hid the 40-meter tunnel through which the inmates escaped.

Officials began dismantling the buildings yesterday, triggering a riot by what was described as a small group of inmates who discharged firearms and burned bedding in protest.

State security spokesman Luis Alberto Rodríguez said last night that federal and state forces brought the situation under control.

Twelve of the escaped inmates have been recaptured.

Rodríguez admitted that the area where the buildings were located was self-governing, a “very dangerous” problem affecting the prison system and one the government has promised to fix throughout the state’s penal system.

He also said the Ciudad Victoria facility, built for 970 inmates but housing 1,150, is an old one and “represents a risk for the community.”

Authorities are now investigating the prison’s warden and 38 guards in connection with yesterday’s escape.

Nine of the escapees were federal prisoners and four of those belong to a crime cartel. It wasn’t revealed which.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp)

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