In a troubled Mexican prison, inmates ran their cell blocks

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A brutal prison break in which 30 inmates escaped and 17 people, mostly guards, were killed showed a shocking level of inmate self-government at the prison in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico’s northern border.

Not only were the perpetrators able to smuggle weapons, drugs and luxury items into Prison No. 3, they actually held the keys to parts of the facility across the border from El Paso, Texas.

“It was clear that the prisoners themselves were practically in charge of security and that in some cells they had keys to common areas such as classrooms or canteens,” said Nestor Manuel Armendariz, president of the Human Rights Commission in northern Chihuahua.

Searches after the Sunday uprising and prison break revealed 10 “VIP cells” equipped with TVs and other amenities. One even had a safe with cash. Authorities also found cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana in the prison, as well as 14 handguns outside.

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