CIUDAD JUAREZ – Chihuahua State Police detailed seven new shooting deaths in a press release Monday night titled “Search for subjects escaped from Cereso 3 yields results” despite reporting no advances in locating escapees.
Federal officials in Mexico City provided additional details on the New Year’s Day prison break.
Local and state authorities requested support from federal forces Sunday morning, Gen. Luis Cresencio Sandoval González said during a Monday press conference in Mexico City. Military and national guard forces entered the state prison CERESO No. 3 in Juárez, where local police waited outside, and by noon had managed to control the situation inside the prison.
Inside the prison, soldiers discovered what Sandoval González described as “VIP cells” that included luxuries not normally available to prisoners, as well as a locked safe with over 1.7 million pesos in cash.
The search also turned up 84 cell phones, 82 bullet cartridges of different calibers, seven long guns and four handguns.
The total number of escaped prisoners is 25, not 27 as reported previously by Chihuahua state officials, Sandoval González said.
Two state investigative police officials active in the prison break investigation were attacked and killed in the Canto de Murano subdivision late Monday afternoon. Armed subjects opened fire on units responding to that incident near the intersection of Jupiter and Valle del Sol streets. Police killed five subjects in the shootout, according to the state police’s press release.
Ernesto Alfredo Piñón de la Cruz, alias “El Neto,” leader of the Mexicles criminal organization in Juárez, is among the escapees and is likely the intended beneficiary of Sunday’s attack. Authorities consider Piñón responsible for the Aug. 11 riot in the same prison that killed three inmates and left 11 people dead in a day of violence throughout the city still remembered as “Black Thursday.”
Federal authorities never received a request from Chihuahua state officials to move Piñón to a more secure facility or to assist in relieving overcrowding at CERESO No. 3, Sandoval González said.