Mexico: 20 dead in Reynosa prison riot; more violence in Tijuana

Twenty-one were killed and 12 injured Oct. 20 in a fight between inmates at a prison in Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from McAllen, Tex. Tamaulipas state and Mexican federal police, supported by army troops, took control of the state prison, as anxious relatives of inmates gathered outside to demand information—at one point kicking the prison gates. Inmates used guns, knives and gasoline bombs in the battle before security forces stormed the prison. Reports indicated all of the dead were killed in the initial fighting between prisoners, as opposed to in the effort to re-take the facility—but didn’t state this explicitly.

More than 50 inmates were transfered from the Reynosa Social Readaptation Center (CERESO) after the disturbance. Tamaulipas state officials also suspended the prison’s director, Carlos Hernández Vega. An interim director of the prison has been appointed.

Investigations continue into riots at La Mesa CERESO, a Baja California state prison in Tijuana, left 23 dead, including two inmates from the US. La Mesa prisoners argued that officials weren’t giving them food and water. Forensic work continues to identify the victims (Brownsville Herald, El Financiero, Milenio, AP, Oct. 21)

Police in Baja California report another series of drug-related killings over the weekend. At least four city police officers and a district police chief were killed in Tijuana, and police also discovered three metal bins containing human remains in the border city. One officer was found decapitated on a road between Tijuana and Tecate. Authorities in Playas de Rosarito also reported that a group of armed men stormed the home of the district police chief of La Presa and killed him in front of his family. (UPI, Oct. 21)

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco war.