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Massive jailbreaks in Mexico. Prison riots in Venezuela, and fires in Honduras. Latin America's prisons are overcrowded, out of control and ready to burst. In this in-depth series, GlobalPost goes inside some of the Americas' most violent prisons to investigate a correctional system that has gone horribly wrong.
132 prisoners dug their way to freedom according to authorities who said they escaped a Mexican prison through an underground tunnel.
Mexican authorities are offering a hefty reward for the capture of 132 inmates who escaped from prison in the border town of Piedras Negras in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. According to officials, 82 of the inmates were charged with federal crimes.
The inmates reportedly escaped through a tunnel across from Eagle Pass, Texas, according to Bloomberg.
Coahuila state prosecutor Homero Ramos said in an interview that the tunnel ‘‘was not made today. It had been there for months.The prison was not overcrowded, none of our prisons are. We have 132 inmates escaping through a tunnel, and it doesn’t make sense.’’ Ramos said in a statement that the tunnel used by the prisoners was 2.90 meters (9.5 feet) deep, 1.20 meters wide and seven meters long. Its exit point was the prison's northern tower.
Once out of the tunnel, inmates "cut a wire fence from where, according to prison authorities, the convicts got out one by one and reached a vacant lot," according to the statement.
Authorities say they also found ropes and electric cables they believe were used in the break.
Ramos added said that it took prison guards about an hour notice the break, according to the AFP.
“The state’s combined police forces are carrying out continued operations. We’ve alerted US authorities, who immediately deployed border patrol speed boats,” Ramos said.
That operation included the deployment of federal police units and Mexican troops to search for the inmates, according to the Associated Press. Ramos said 70 members of the elite special forces were also deployed. Coahuila state is offering rewards of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrests of each prisoner.