Thirty-two inmates reportedly broke out of three different jails in Mexico's Veracruz state Monday.
Prisoners overpowered the jails' guards and forced them to open the doors, BBC reports.
Miguel Valera, a spokesman for Veracruz state, told AFP that according to initial indications the inmates had knives and overwhelmed the guards with force.
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The jail breaks happened almost simultaneously early Monday morning between 2:30 and 4:00 AM.
"Security at Mexican prisons is notoriously weak, with guards often intimidated or bribed by drug gangs operating inside and outside the jails," it states.
Furthermore, prison guards who refuse to accept bribes from drug gangs have been killed.
Authorities have reportedly recaptured 14 of the escapees, who fled Dupont Ostion jail in Coatzacoalcos, La Toma in Amatlan de los Reyes and the Cosamaloapan prison.
Prison officials are now conducting reviews to determine who remains at large and an investigation into how it happened, AFP reports.
There has been a rise in violence in Veracruz as a drug cartel, Zetas, moves its operations into the state from neighboring Tamaulipas, it states.