Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The free-for-all in Mexico's prisons
Posted: 26 Jul 2011 03:43 PM PDT

Inmates at a state prison in Ciudad Juarez whipped out their guns in a deadly clash Monday night, and when a shootout ended 17 inmates lay dead.

The fight was between members of Los Aztecas, a gang aligned with the Juarez cartel, and Los Mexicles, enforcers for the Sinaloa drug cartel in the border city.

I’ve been in the state prison in Juarez and heard the prison director talk about why the walls are so high between cellblocks. It’s to prevent this kind of shootout. Gang members are sequestered, according to their gang affiliation.

But what rarely gets addressed is the corruption that allows family members to bring guns, dope, cell phones and all matter of other stuff in to the inmates.

Prison corruption has emerged in numerous ways in the last week or so. Last week, press reports and photos talked about the “luxury suites” at the state penitentiary in Hermosillo, capital of Sonora state. The 130 suites are air-conditioned and equipped with plush furniture, wooden cabinets, TVs and kitchens.

The state’s prison director, Ricardo Ornelas, said he’d heard reports the prison also contained illegal barber shops, grocery stores, markets, pawnshops and even a shellfish bar.

Clearly the suites are designed so that narcos won’t have to undergo undue hardship when they do “hard” time.
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