HomeNewsBrief'Zetas Behind Mass Prison Break in North Mexico'
BRIEF

'Zetas Behind Mass Prison Break in North Mexico'

19 SEP 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

The escape of over 130 prisoners from a jail in Coahuila, north Mexico, may have been organized by the Zetas drug gang in order to supply themselves with more manpower, according to local authorities.

The head of Coahuila state's Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), Jorge Luis Moran, told the Associated Press that the Zetas were  "clearly" behind the escape of 131 inmates from the Cereso prison in Piedras Negras on 17 September. Seven have since been recaptured, leaving 124 at large, reported El Universal.

Moran said that he learned of the Zetas' involvement in the plot from other inmates, who told him that some prisoners who didn't belong to the gang were forced to go along with the escape. "[The Zetas] are running out of people," Moran added.

It was originally reported that 132 people had escaped. Some 5,000 police and military personnel have been deployed to find the escapees who, according to Milenio, may have fled to Tamulipas state in the northeast, a Zetas stronghold.

InSight Crime Analysis

If Moran's claims are true, it would be the second mass breakout orchestrated by the Zetas this year. In February, 30 alleged Zetas escaped from a prison near Monterrey after using the slaughter of 44 fellow inmates as a distraction. 

Analyst Alberto Islas told BBC Mundo that the Zetas often organize breakouts to replenish their ranks, as it means they can re-integrate experienced members into the organization. Since May 2008, the gang has reportedly been responsible for the escape of some 546 inmates, all in the north of the country, according to El Economista. 

This figure would constitute nearly 80 percent of the more than 700 prisoners who have fled Mexico's troubled penitentiary system in the last six years.

The Zetas are reportedly in the midst of a split between two of its leaders, Heriberto Lazcano, alias “Z-3”, and Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z-40.” It is not clear which faction may have been responsible for the prison break.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.