More than 130 inmates at a Mexican prison near the U.S. border escaped on Monday via a small tunnel, prompting police to carry out a massive manhunt to reel them back in.
Officials in the state of Coahuila, where the jailbreak took place, asked the U.S. for assistance in finding the inmates, the EFE news agency reported.
The warden of the Piedras Negras prison detained 27 guards, a shift supervisor, and the prison’s security chief, a spokesperson told the news agency. The city of Piedras Negras is located across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, and is around 150 miles away from San Antonio.
Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria told The Associated Press that “the fugitives used the tunnel which had an entry and exit hole with a 4-foot diameter.”
“They cut the chain-link material outside and one by one they got out to a piece of land,” he added.
Of those who escaped, 86 were held on federal charges, including drug crimes, while the rest face state charges.
Coahuila has been rocked by violence stemming from the country’s drug trade, with the Zetas cartel fighting with the Sinaloa cartel over territory.
Officials did not say whether the jailbreak was carried out by a cartel or not. The last big prison break was in December 2010 when 153 inmates broke out of prison in Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Laredo Texas.
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