A second escape tunnel has been found at Cieneguillas prison in Zacatecas, the state’s Minister of Public Security reported.
The discovery comes after 12 inmates described as “highly dangerous” escaped through a 50-meter-long tunnel in May.
The inmates, members of the Zetas and the Northeast Cartel, were serving sentences ranging from eight to 57 years for drug charges, robbery, kidnapping, firearms offenses and murder.
The newly found tunnel had a height of 1.6 meters and was located in a wing of the prison where 54 inmates are housed. Prison authorities also found a gun, ammunition, telephones and other prohibited items during their search.
After finding the tunnel, guards conducted a head count and determined no inmates had escaped.
Maintaining order in Cieneguillas has proved a challenge.
In 2009, 53 prisoners escaped with the help of a convoy of cartel hitmen who entered the prison disguised as law enforcement.
The medium-security prison has also seen deadly riots.
On December 31, 2019, 16 inmates were killed in a riot and on January 2 of this year an inmate was beaten to death during a riot, after which 165 inmates were transferred to another prison for safety reasons and the prison’s director was fired.
Authorities say the prison population is currently under control and work is underway to seal the tunnel’s entrance. Surprise searches will be conducted to ensure that inmates are not in possession of contraband.