back to top

49 Dead In Mexico Prison Riot

A deadly fight broke out between rival factions in a northern Mexico prison, leaving 49 dead and 12 others injured.

Originally posted on
Updated on

At least 49 inmates were killed and another dozen were injured when a riot broke out between rival gangs in a northern Mexico prison Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what sparked the violence, but Nuevo Leon Gov. Jaime Rodriguez said that notorious Zetas member Juan Pedro Zaldivar Farias, also known as Z-27, was involved.

The other side was led by Jorge Ivan Hernandez Cantu, who a member of a rival cartel known as Gulf, according to the governor.

According to Rodriguez, no one is believed to have escaped from the prison and also said that there were no guns used. The governor initially listed the death toll at 52 but the number was later amended to 49.

In the midst of the melee at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, witnesses said they heard explosions and reported that inmates were burning mattresses — sparking a large fire which led to the prison filling with a thick layer of smoke, the AP reported.

Relatives of inmates gathered outside of the prison in the early morning hours as rescue workers brought the injured from the building. Some of the inmates were reported to have suffered from burns, according to the AP. The fire was extinguished sometime around sunrise.

"They haven't told us anything," Ernestina, the mother of one of the inmates told the AP. "They said that until there is order they won't let us in. Everything is in disorder, and nobody is telling us anything."

The prison violence comes less than a week before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit another Mexican prison, in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua.

Jessica Simeone is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Simeone at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.