Prison fight leaves 17 dead in Mexican border city

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 26, 2011 3:31 PM
Prison fight leaves 17 dead in Mexican border city

CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) - Seventeen people have been killed in a prison gunfight in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, authorities said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the mayor's office said an unspecified number of inmates entered two pavilions containing 13 other prisoners late Monday, and a fight began. Sixteen men and one woman were killed in the ensuing violence.

The city on the border with Texas has been racked by a brutal turf war between the local Juarez cartel, and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, headed by Mexico's most wanted drug boss, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

More than 40,000 people have died in drug-related killing since Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent in the army to crush the cartels shortly after taking office in late 2006. Roughly a quarter of the deaths have been in Ciudad Juarez.

Security has also been a serious problem in prisons, which are prone to outbreaks of violence and escapes.

Earlier this month, 59 inmates broke out of prison and a further seven were killed in Nuevo Laredo, a northeastern city also near the Texan border.

(Reporting by Julian Cardona, writing by Dave Graham)