Official: Arsenal found inside Venezuelan prison

AP News
Posted: Feb 07, 2013 6:21 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan officials found 106 firearms and more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition inside a prison following a riot last month that killed 58 people, nearly all of them inmates, the country's top prison authority said Thursday.

Iris Varela said at a news conference the weaponry was discovered at the Uribana prison in the western city of Barquisimeto after officials evacuated and searched the facility following the Jan. 25 riot. The weapons included revolvers, shotguns, submachine guns and assault rifles used by the military, she said.

Varela said the violence erupted when a small group of inmates began shooting at other prisoners while they were being searched by authorities.

"Not all of them were killed as a result of the shooting," she said.

One inmate was killed by being thrown from the top of the building while another was burned to death, allegedly by fellow inmates, Varela said. A third died of stab wounds.

Varela said inmates who were transferred to other prisons will be returned to Uribana within a couple of months.

Venezuela has 33 functioning prisons that were built to hold about 16,000 inmates but are packed with more than 48,000 inmates, according to local human rights organizations.

Uribana was built to house about 850 inmates. It had about 2,400 when the violence erupted.