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Forensic investigators work an area where a burned-out car was found after a gang rammed several vehicles into a prison and escaped with nine inmates, in Tula, Mexico Ginnette Riquelme via PA Images
Prison Break

Nine inmates escape after gang rams vehicles into Mexican prison

Authorities said the pre-dawn attack resulted in gunshot wounds to two police officers.

A GANG HAS rammed several vehicles into a prison in central Mexico and escaped with nine inmates in one of the most dramatic breakouts the country has seen in years.

Authorities in the state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City, said the pre-dawn attack resulted in gunshot wounds to two police officers.

State police said soldiers, police and National Guard troops fanned out looking for the escaped inmates. Police did not identify the armed gang involved in the prison break.

The state’s interior secretary, Simon Vargas, said “an armed group burst into the prison aboard several vehicles, and it is worth noting that near the prison, two vehicles were burned as part of the criminal group’s operation, as a distraction”.

Local media reported that the burned-out cars found in the city of Tula after the attack were car bombs. Authorities said they were investigating how the vehicles caught fire.

The use of car bombs by gangs in Mexico has been extremely rare, with one attack in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez in 2010 killing three people.

Gangs in Mexico frequently torch vehicles to distract police, and vehicles set alight can explode once the flames reach their fuel tanks.

Tula is home to a large oil refinery and the area has been plagued by gangs of thieves who drill illegal taps into government-owned pipelines to extract petrol and diesel.

It was unclear if any fuel thieves were among the escaped inmates. Authorities said the escapees had faced charges of homicide and kidnapping, among others.

State prosecutor Alejandro Habib said a large number of people took part in the apparently highly planned attack.

Mexico has seen some spectacular prison escapes in the past.

In 2015, imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped through a mile-long tunnel on a specially modified motorcycle that ran on steel rails.

He was later recaptured, extradited and is serving a prison term in the US.

In 2012, more than 130 inmates escaped a border town prison in Piedras Negras through a tunnel.

In 2010 in the northern border state of Tamaulipas, 141 inmates got out through a prison service entrance used by vehicles, presumably with the assistance of staff.

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