Armed group frees 9 from Mexican prison, killing 2 guards

prison cell blockLos Angeles Times, 6/9/2013

A group of armed men stormed a prison in the Mexican state of Guerrero early Sunday, freeing nine prisoners, killing two guards and injuring another guard and a prisoner, state officials said. The prison break was the latest disturbing news from the southwestern coastal state. Like neighboring Michoacan, a number of Guerrero’s rural regions have been overrun by a drug cartel called the Knights Templar. Vigilante groups have emerged, purportedly in an effort to take their communities back, but there is a concern that some groups are linked to rival criminal gangs.

The breakout is also the latest embarrassment for the notoriously porous Mexican prison system. A number of major escapes in recent years occurred after collusion with prison authorities. Although it remains unclear exactly what happened in the Guerrero prison, the state government said in a news release that the prison director left the scene after the men were freed, and could not be located. State officials said the armed men entered the prison in the city of La Union, north of the Pacific resort city of Zihuatanejo. They shot and killed the two guards and left a third guard and a prisoner injured by gunfire.

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