Imprisoned Mexican drug suspects complain of poor conditions

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2015 8:39 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said Thursday it has received a complaint from inmates at a maximum-security prison, reportedly including top cartel leaders, complaining of poor food and bad conditions.

A commission employee who was not authorized to be quoted by name said the complaint was received Wednesday, but the commission is not allowed to discuss the details of complaints.

However, an online publication in Mexico posted excerpts from the complaint, including a facsimile suggesting it was signed by alleged drug lords Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias "La Barbie."

According to the website Nayaritenlinea.mx, the complaint was signed by a total of 138 inmates at the Altiplano prison just west of Mexico City, including members of many of Mexico's biggest drug cartels.

They alleged that prisoners at Mexico's highest-security facility sleep in overcrowded conditions, some on the floor, and are allowed outside less than an hour a day. They also said they are served spoiled food, including chicken "with worms" in it.

The once high-flying suspects, many of whom have multiple residences and luxury vehicles on the outside, complained that they are forced to endure plumbing leaks, backed-up toilets and bad smells.

They also complained that visitors are strip-searched and insulted and said that phone calls they are allowed often do not go through.

Mexican inmates are allowed conjugal visits, but the letter complained that the rooms where such visits are carried out are in bad shape, with foul-smelling, filthy mattresses.

The agency that oversees federal prisons had no immediate comment on the complaints.