MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for the warden and 18 guards at a prison in the northern border state of Coahuila where armed intruders killed three inmates and freed nine others, the Attorney General's Office said Friday.
In a communique, the AG office also said that another three guards at the penitentiary in the city of Torreon who were arrested earlier have been handed over to state courts in Coahuila.
Those three men are "accused of committing crimes of wrongful exercise of public service and aiding the escape of a prisoner with the aggravating factor of having been committed by public servants," the statement said.
Close to midnight Monday a group of eight armed men dressed in black and wearing ski masks entered the prison, subdued the guards and entered the jail's control center.
The gunmen seized three inmates, took them to a bathroom and beat them to death, then doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.
Apparently the three people who were murdered had been admitted to the prison two hours previously for the crimes of kidnapping and murdering a businessman in the city of Monterrey, in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon.
Later the group went to one of the cell blocks at the jail and freed nine inmates, all accused of drug trafficking and organized crime.
With regard to the warden, the daily El Universal said Friday that the criminals were able to achieve their goal because some of them burst into his home, forced him to go with them in a vehicle and demanded that he call the prison to order the guards to let the armed group go inside.
The violence of Mexican penitentiaries has increased in recent months, since drug cartels and other organized-crime elements carried their battles with each other into the jails.
Last October a riot in a jail in Tamaulipas state left 21 dead, and the month before a similar incident in the city of Tijuana also took a score of lives.