MEXICO CITY – The army recaptured seven of the 131 inmates who escaped from the prison in Piedras Negras last month, bringing to 16 number of escapees caught so far, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said Monday.
Soldiers deployed in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas detained the escaped inmates Sunday in the La Concordia section of the border city of Nuevo Laredo, the secretariat said.
The inmates recaptured by the army were identified as Jose Abel Herrera, Pablo Lopez, Miguel Angel Lopez, Jose Hernandez, Victor Sosa, Juan Ricardo Gonzalez and Misael Ramirez Rangel.
Nine other escapees were recaptured recently and one of the inmates died in a shootout with the security forces.
A total of 114 of the escaped inmates are still at large.
The Sept. 17 prison break in Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, was the biggest in Mexico since Dec. 17, 2010, when 141 inmates escaped from a penitentiary in Nuevo Laredo, which is across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.
After initially saying the Piedras Negras escapees left through a tunnel, officials later acknowledged that the inmates simply walked out the prison gate.
The Los Zetas drug cartel organized the mass breakout, officials said.
The Zetas, originally a band of army deserters working as hired guns for the Gulf cartel, went into the drug business for themselves several years ago and have become embroiled in vicious turf battles with their former partners and other criminal outfits.
The army is carrying out “Operation Northeast” in the states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila and San Luis Potosi against the drug cartels that operate in the region. EFE