Guard arrested for torture in Tijuana prison riots

AP News
Posted: Nov 07, 2009 8:28 AM

Mexican police caught a prison official who spent a year on the run from charges of killing a 19-year-old inmate, whose beating death sparked riots that left nearly two dozen dead, including two American prisoners.

Marco Antonio Ibarra, the chief guard at Tijuana's La Mesa State Penitentiary, was arrested in the northern city of Culiacan, where he was born and had been hiding for a year, said Martha Almaza, deputy attorney general for Baja California state.

Ibarra was brought to Tijuana on Friday and paraded before reporters. Authorities did not say when he was arrested.

Almaza said Ibarra ordered guards to take 10 prisoners into a storage room and beat them. She said Ibarra was trying to find out who owned drugs, cell phones and other prohibited items that had been discovered in one of the cells.

The abuse, which resulted in the young prisoner's death, provoked two uprisings over three days in September 2008. At least 23 inmates were killed, including two of the 200 Americans held at the prison at the time.

Ibarra faces homicide and torture charges. Another guard charged in the case is still at large.