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Saunas, aquarium and ‘Death Saint’ found in Mexico prison after riot

Luxuries discovered included saunas, mini-fridges, a bar and even an aquarium, apart from life-size altars of the 'Death Saint'.

By: AP | New Delhi | Published: February 17, 2016 3:58 pm
Mexico prison riot, riot, Mexico, Nuevo Leon, Topo Chico, luxuries, drugs, sauna, bar, aquarium, Death Saint, altar, contraband drugs, drug trafficking, Zetas drug cartel, United Nations, Real-life Shawshank Redemption? Assorted luxuries, crude weapons and hundreds of altars of the ‘Death Saint’ — patron saint of drug traffickers and other gang lords — were found in Topo Chico prison post-riot between inmates. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Vast luxuries such as saunas, a bar, food stands and appliances were discovered by authorities entering a prison in Nuevo Leon state, northern Mexico to investigate a riot that killed 49 inmates.

The riot broke out on February 11, 2016, between two rival factions of the Zetas drug cartel.

Governor of Nuevo Leon, Jaime Rodriguez, said that 60 hammers, 86 knives and 120 shivs were used in the melee. Nuevo Leon state authorities said in a statement that the cells inside Monterrey’s Topo Chico prison were outfitted with mini fridges, air conditioners, digital cable and aquariums. There were 280 food and grocery stands where inmates could buy goods. It added that police destroyed hundreds of altars to the Death Saint — some of them life-size. The folk figure is revered by drug traffickers and some people among the downtrodden.

Heavy machinery was brought in to haul away tons of contraband furniture and other goods that authorities had piled in the prison yard, the statement said.

“We knew about all of the irregularities that existed, arbitrary acts, abuses, taxes,” general Cuauhtemoc Antunez, the state’s security secretary, said in the statement.

A United Nations official called on Mexico’s government to conduct an exhaustive investigation of a prison riot that killed 49 last week. The UN official had toured the prison in 2014. He said he witnessed horrible conditions and lax rules that allowed prisoners to govern themselves, and led to violence.

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