Venezuela says 13 inmates die of overdose after robbing infirmary ward

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 27, 2014 10:30 AM

CARACAS (Reuters) - Thirteen inmates have died after breaking into a Venezuelan jail's infirmary and ingesting medical products including antibiotics and pure alcohol in the latest outbreak of unrest in the country's turbulent prisons.

A total of 145 prisoners were intoxicated during a revolt in the David Viloria penitentiary center in the western state of Lara on Monday, the government said on Thursday.

Inmates had launched a hunger strike to demand the dismissal of an official, and the protest quickly spiraled.

"Around 8.30 a.m. they became violent and started to break the walls and the doors of the confined areas, so the National Guard was called in for support," a government statement said.

Hours later, "some prisoners were in a state of overdose after violently entering the infirmary area, robbing the pharmacy... and ingesting, without prescriptions, multiple pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, antihypertensives, aspirin, absolute alcohol, among other things."

Also this week, 41 inmates escaped from a hole in the wall of a prison in Los Teques, near the capital Caracas.

Venezuela's overcrowded prisons are notorious for gang-fights, riots and widespread access to drugs and weapons.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne; and Peter Galloway)