10 inmates escape from Mexican prison

Ten inmates escaped from a prison in Mexico`s Caribbean beach resort of Cancun.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 13, 2016, 11:46 AM IST

Mexico City: Ten inmates escaped late Tuesday from a prison in Mexico`s Caribbean beach resort of Cancun, the latest jailbreak to hit the country`s scandal-plagued penitentiary system.

Prison officials were gathering information about the identity of the inmates but some are considered "highly dangerous," a Quintana Roo state public security spokeswoman told AFP.

"The escape took place at around 9:10 pm (0210 GMT) and the (prison) authorities counted 10 prisoners" who fled, said the spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to give her name.

She did not provide more details about the escape from the prison, located in a city that is a popular destination for American tourists.

Local media reported that the convicts belong to two drug gangs and that they took advantage of confusion during a prison fight to escape.

Mexican prisons are notoriously overcrowded and violent.

A report by the National Human Rights Commission found that inmates govern themselves in 71 state prisons.

Mass prison breaks are not uncommon.

Last month, three inmates escaped during a riot and fire in a prison just outside Mexico City that left several prisoners and police officers injured.

The biggest escape took place in September 2012 in a prison in the northern border town of Piedras Negras, when 131 inmates bolted through the front door.

In November 2013, seven inmates escaped from a prison in the northern state of Tamaulipas after six prisoners were killed during a fight.

But the most famous jailbreak was perpetrated by one man, Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who escaped from the country`s top security prison near Mexico City in July 2015 through a 1.5-kilometer (one mile) tunnel built by his henchmen.

Guzman had previously escaped from another prison in 2001, reportedly by hiding in a laundry cart.

He was recaptured in January.