Photo: MX Prison Fight Leaves 40 Dead
At least 40 inmates died in a fight early Sunday at the prison in Apodaca, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, officials said.
“There are 40 inmates dead,” all of whom were in cell block D, warden Gilberto Ceceña said.
Investigators are trying to determine what started the fight, the warden said.
About 400 relatives of inmates have gathered outside the prison, with some screaming for information about their loved ones.
The highway to the prison in Apodaca, located about 22 kilometers (14 miles) from Monterrey, has been closed.
The fight may have involved members of the rival Los Zetas and Gulf drug cartels.
The death toll could rise because investigators are still going through the medium-security prison, Nuevo Leon state Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene told reporters.
The cause of the fight, which started in the early morning hours, has not been determined and the dead inmates have not been identified, Domene said.
The fight started around 2:00 a.m. in the prison in Apodaca, a suburb of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, Domene said.
Gunfire was heard during the fight, but officials have not determined whether it came from guards or inmates.
Federal and state security forces regained control of the prison Sunday morning and the Nuevo Leon state government set up an area to assist inmates’ relatives, who have gathered around the prison and are seeking information about loved ones.
The prison in Apodaca houses about 3,000 inmates, or about 30 percent more prisoners than it was designed to hold, as is the case in most prisons in Mexico.
The fight at the prison in Apodaca produced the largest death toll from an incident of this type in the past few years in Mexico.
A fight last month at a prison in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas left 31 inmates dead.
A fire apparently caused by a short-circuit at the prison in Apodaca left 14 inmates dead and 35 others injured on May 20.