Police and guards foiled an attempt by inmates to escape from a prison in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, over the weekend, state officials said, adding that a police officer was wounded in the incident.
The inmates were spotted by guards early Sunday as they tried to make their way to the perimeter wall, the Sinaloa Public Safety Secretariat said.
Guards fired warning shots in the air and forced the inmates to return to the cell block that they had escaped from by cutting through a metal screen.
A police officer was wounded in the shootout that started when armed men waiting for the inmates in six vehicles opened fire on state police assigned to provide security around the prison.
The gunmen also fired shots at the guard towers, whose occupants returned fire.
Three vehicles containing a .50-caliber Barrett rifle, two AK-47 assault rifles, an AR-15 assault rifle, a 9 mm pistol, marijuana and other drugs were left behind by the gunmen.
Guards checked the prison roll and no inmates were missing, the secretariat said.
Army troops and police conducted a search, but no arrests were made.
Sinaloa is home to the drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
Sinaloa, the birthplace of many of Mexico’s drug lords, is currently the scene of a bloody turf war between Guzman and the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa organization.