Death toll from prison attack in Mexico rises to 19

The death toll from a weekend attack at a penitentiary in Mexico’s northeastern city of Ciudad Juarez has risen to 19, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said Monday.

Sandoval provided an update on the death toll at a press conference, saying 10 inmates, seven guards and two of the attackers had been killed.

Initially, authorities in Chihuahua state said 14 people had been killed and 13 injured.

Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez meanwhile confirmed that 25 inmates had escaped, including notorious criminal leader Ernesto ‘El Neto’ Piñón.

According to reports, "El Neto" along with other inmates enjoyed special treatment in the prison, including "VIP" cells fitted with televisions and other luxuries.

Authorities reported that more than half a million dollars were found inside the cell of "El Neto," the leader of the criminal gang Los Mexicles.

Multiple drugs were also confiscated, including 285 bags of crystal meth, 38 bags of cocaine, 68 bags of marijuana, 1.5 kilograms of heroin and eight fentanyl pills.

On Sunday, heavily armed gunmen in armored vehicles arrived at the prison around 7 a.m. local time (1400GMT) and opened fire on the guards.

Sandoval said the prison was overcrowded, a determining factor in the prison break, adding that a request was issued to relocate inmates from the prison today.

He added that 90 members of the National Guard and 120 members of the army have been deployed to locate the escaped prisoners.

Violence in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, has continued unbated, with relentless attacks by criminal groups seeking to take control of the city.

On Aug. 11 last year, a riot at the same prison spread to the streets of the city, with criminals using firearms and Molotov cocktails to attack civilians and local businesses.

The attack left 11 dead, including a four-year-old boy.

Source: Anadolu Agency