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REYNOSA, MEXICO — Three people were killed on Wednesday afternoon when a riot broke out at a prison in northern Mexico, officials said on Thursday. Prison outbreaks and prison riots occur frequently in the country engulfed by drug-related crime.
The incident began at around 1:30 p.m. local time at the Execution and Sanctions Center located in the Renacimiento neighborhood of Reynosa, a city in the state of Tamaulipas which borders McAllen in the U.S. state of Texas. Few details about the riot were released.
The state's Public Security Ministry and Attorney General's Office confirmed that a fight broke out and ruled out rumors that inmates had escaped during the incident. State authorities also confirmed that two of the inmates were killed by gunshot wounds, although it was not known who fired them.
In addition to the two fatalities, seven inmates were reported to have been injured. Local police moved quickly to control the situation, and emergency teams transported the injured to Reynosa's General Hospital, where one of the injured later died, bringing the death toll to three.
The casualties were identifies as Edgar Iván Flores Alonso, Jesús Eduardo Prado Valdez and Carlos Sifuentes Cruz. Reports indicate that there are currently around 2,500 inmates housed at the prison, a 40 percent overpopulation according to its designed capacity.
Prison outbreaks and prison riots occur frequently in Mexico. In early January, 31 inmates were killed when two groups of inmates clashed at a penitentiary in the municipality of Altamira, which is located at the southern tip of the state of Tamaulipas and on the Gulf of Mexico. Local authorities said the inmates used self-made weapons during the fight.
Mexico has been struggling to cope with an influx of criminals as President Felipe Calderón continues with his campaign against organized crime and drug cartels. According to official figures, at least 12,903 people died as a result of drug-related violence between January and September 2011, although figures for the entire year are not yet available. This will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.