A deadly riot between gangs left 44 dead on Sunday at a prison in Monterrey.
Jorge Domene, spokesman for state security, confirmed the deaths at a news conference.
“All of [the deceased] have been victimised by sharp and blunt objects,” he said, citing stones, clubs and sharp objects as the murder weapons.
The event came less than one week after a fire in Comayagua, Honduras killed more than 350 inmates, further fixing the spotlight on the dangerous overcrowding in many Latin American prisons.
According to local news reports, the Mexican prison was currently housing 3,000 inmates, but actual capacity was only built for 1,500. The three prisons in Monterrey jointly experience overcrowding rates of 36 percent.
The outbreak was originally thought to have been the result of a clash between two rival drug gangs at the penitentiary, the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. The two are cited as among Mexico’s most dangerous and powerful criminal organisations, and according to Digital ABC, relatives say the prison is “in the hands of Los Zetas.”
For this reason, authorities are not ruling out the possibility of the fight starting as a ruse to distract from a break out, and complacency among security guards on duty.
Preliminary investigations, Domene said, suggest there was a “plot with custodians.”
Local news sources report that the brawl began between 1:30 and 2:00 local time on Sunday, and that all those dead were inmates of the “Delta” or “D” room.
After the news was reported, around 400 friends and relatives of inmates surrounded the prison looking for information on their loved ones.