New violence at Mexico prison after massacre
A firefighter tends to a woman after tear gas was fired when relatives battled police protecting the perimeter at the Apodaca state prison near Monterrey, Mexico Tuesday Feb. 21, 2012. / AP
MONTERREY, Mexico - Inmates set fire to mattresses and trash Tuesday after officials announced that three prisoners would be moved from the prison where 44 gang members were massacred this week to a maximum security jail in western Mexico.
Thick gray smoke rose from inside the Apodaca prison shortly after several federal police officers went in.
Outside, about 50 women related to inmates clashed with police and set fire to a pile of cardboard and wood at a gate. Crying women threw stones at officers when they poured water on the fire from behind the mesh gate, while others tried to climb the fence.
The women told a local television station they were desperate for information about their imprisoned loved ones.
Nuevo Leon state public security spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano said a federal judge ordered that three inmates be transferred to the Puente Grande federal prison in Guadalajara. He said he couldn't identify the men until they arrived in Puente Grande.
Earlier Tuesday, three inmates were killed in a prison a few miles (kilometers) from the Apodaca prison, where authorities say 44 prisoners who belonged to the Gulf drug cartel were bludgeoned and stabbed to death by inmates from the rival Zetas cartel.
The latest victims, two men and a woman, had been booked into the Topo Chico prison Monday on suspicion of kidnapping, Domene said. He said the men were stabbed to death in the prison's observation area and the woman in the infirmary.
At the time the three suspects were presented to the media in early February, Domene described them as members of the Gulf cartel.
Sunday's massacre at Apodoca may have been the deadliest prison killing in at least a quarter century in Mexico. The prison's director and 40 guards are being held on suspicion of allowing imprisoned Zetas members to escape before the massacre.
Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina said 16 guards have confessed to aiding the escape.
Of the 47,000 federal inmates in Mexico, about 29,000 are held in state prisons. That has drawn complaints from Medina and other state governors, who say their jails aren't equipped to hold members of powerful and highly organized drug cartels.
Interior Department Alejandro Poire said the federal government plans to build six new federal prisons to add to the six the country already has. He said the federal government plans to house all federal inmates in its facilities by the end of the year.
Fighting between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels has brought a surge of violence and other crimes to the Monterrey region, which is Mexico's third largest.
On Tuesday, gunmen opened fire on a group of taxi drivers waiting at a taxi stand outside a shopping center in Monterrey, killing five.
Witnesses told police the gunmen fired from a passing car, Domene said.
He said authorities were trying to determine if the attack was related to the prison violence.
Taxi drivers are often hired by drug cartels to distribute drugs or work as lookouts.
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