EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The head of the Mexicles is on the loose after he escaped from the Cereso prison in Juarez on New Year’s Day.
According to El Diario in Juarez the leader, called “El Neto,” escaped along with 26 other inmates during a brazen at the prison.
On Sunday morning the prison in South Juarez was attacked by armed people in armored vehicles. The attack left 10 officers dead and multiple inmates dead, according to the Government of the State of Chihuahua.
The secretary of National Defense spoke about the attack on Monday. He said money equal to around $90,000 was found inside a prison cell described as a “VIP” cell.
“It’s important to mention that as the battle for control of the Cereso, there were 10 cells found. We can call them VIP cells. They had television sets, with different conditions from those of normal cells and that’s where we found the safe,” said Luis Cresencio Sandoval Gonzalez, the secretary of National Defense in Mexico.
As we reported back in August, a fight at the Cereso prison spilled out onto the streets of Juarez. Gas stations were burned, businesses shot at, leaving over 10 dead including civilians and journalists.
Dr. Howard Campbell, a University of Texas at El Paso professor of Cultural Anthropology and a specialist in Latin America with a focus on Mexico, criticized the Mexican government for the handling of both incidents at the prison.
“Even though you have the Guardia National all over the city of Juarez and plenty of policemen and so on, they didn’t seem to be able to reform the prison or create a secure city or prison system,” Campbell said.
He explained that there were differences between what happened in Juarez back in August and what happened on New Year’s Day.
“Over the summer, some of the gangsters deliberately attacked civilians to scare the city, to scare the public. In this case, they didn’t do that. It was all about the prison break. But then you had this sort of street battle in various parts of the city,” Campbell said.
KTSM 9 News reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to see if agents were aware of the 27 inmates who were on the loose.
“CBP was notified Sunday and has been in contact with Mexican authorities. CBP personnel are aware and remain vigilant,” a CBP spokesperson said.