Authorities in Mexico and the US are on the hunt for 132 inmates who escaped through a tunnel from a prison in northern Mexico.
According to CNN, the massive prison break happened Monday in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras in northern Coahuila state, about 150 miles from San Antonio. The prison houses about 730 inmates, and the escape represented almost a fifth of its population.
Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria said the inmates escaped the minimum-security social rehabilitation center by digging a 7-foot tunnel and then cutting through a fence surrounding the complex. Ramos added that the director and two other employees of the state prison have been detained for possibly aiding in the inmates’ escape.
“The tunnel was not made today. It had been there for months,” Ramos told the Milenio TV station. “The prison was not overcrowded, none of our prisons are. We have 132 inmates escaping through a tunnel, and it doesn’t make sense.”
Following the prison break, federal police units in Mexico along with Mexican troops were deployed to capture the inmates with Coahuila offering up to $15,000 for information leading to an arrest. Police have also police set up blockades on roads leading to the Mexican-US border.
According to ABC News, there have been numerous breakouts in the past few years from Mexico’s troubled penitentiary system, where guards are frequently accused of conspiring with drug cartels.
In December 2010, 153 inmates escaped from a prison in the northern city of Nuevo Laredo, right across Laredo, Texas. Authorities charged 41 guards with aiding the inmates in that escape.
ABC has more on Monday’s massive Mexican prison break in the video below: