Juarez prison riot points to lawlessness in Mexican system
Details of a party held at the jail comes amid rising tensions between local and federal police. The government announced this week it is suspending aid to a local police training program in Ciudad Juarez.
As Mexican authorities investigate the murder of 17 inmates in a Juarez jail, video footage from the scene has painted a picture of a cold-blooded killing, which officials seemingly made no effort to prevent.Skip to next paragraph
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Video taken from the jail’s security cameras, and released online by state authorities, shows the events leading up to the killing. A handful of guards are seen, just before the shooting began, leaving the hallway adjacent to the cell where 13 of the inmates were killed.
Although there is no sound, the video appears to show two of the shooters urging the guards to leave. Despite being armed, they seem to follow orders without resistance. Following their exit, the two shooters let at least four accomplices into the hallway, some of whom are carrying what appear to be assault rifles. At that point, the group opens the door to another room along the hallway, and begins firing at those inside.
State officials said that they have been unable to locate five of the weapons used in the massacre. However, an AR-15 assault rifle, thought to have been used in the shooting, was found.
According to the government, the shooters belong to the Aztecas, a gang working for the Juarez Cartel, while the victims, the Mexicles, are in the service of the Sinaloa Cartel. While some have interpreted recent declines in the levels of violence in Juarez as a sign that Sinaloa is steadily winning control of the city, the rivalry, which has killed thousands of people in Juarez over the past several years, appears to be as hotly contested as ever inside of the jail.
Furthermore as El Universal reports, Chihuahua state authorities are reporting that before the Monday night massacre, the Aztecas staged a party involving some 40 people in the prison facility. Four of those attending were teenage girls, one of whom spent the night in the jail with an inmate. This led officials to conclude that the party was an orgy, and that the girls were prostitutes.
However, in a declaration to authorities, at least one of the teenagers denied this, saying that, unusual venue notwithstanding, it was just a normal party, and that she and her friends were not paid to provide sexual favors.
While they haven’t said what sparked the massacre, officials have voiced the suspicion that it could be connected to the party.
The description of the massacre has also changed. Initial reports said that the deaths were the result of a riot and subsequent fighting between the two gangs. Instead, the video suggests that killings were closer to cold-blooded executions, and that the Aztecas gunned down members of the Mexicles without any immediate provocation.