MEXICO CITY — The worst prison riot in Mexico in years was not really a riot. It was mass murder.
Mexican officials said Monday that it appears all of the 44 inmates stabbed and beaten to death at a state prison in northern Mexico on Sunday were members of the same crime syndicate, known as the Gulf Cartel.
They were murdered by their arch enemies, members of Los Zetas, a sensationally violent group that appears to have staged the massacre, in part, as a diversion.
About 30 members of the Zeta cartel escaped from the overcrowded Apodaca prison near Monterrey in the hours after the killings. Officials called the escapees “especially dangerous.”
What was initially characterized as a melee among rival gangs appears to have been a well-planned and -executed attack, followed by a successful getaway, accomplished with the help of the jailers.