19 killed in Tijuana prison riot

September 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A second riot in three days at Tijuana's infamous La Mesa State Penitentiary has left 19 people dead, 12 injured and prompted the removal of top prison officials. Soldiers and federal police have regained control of the overcrowded prison, Daniel de la Rosa, Baja California's Public Safety Secretary, said Thursday.

Family members said the inmates rioted because they have not been given food or water since Sunday, when a separate riot led to the deaths of at least three inmates.

De la Rosa blamed both riots on rivalries between inmates, and said authorities would transfer 200 inmates to other state prisons.

Baja California Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna said he has suspended La Mesa's director, the director of state prisons and the deputy secretary of the overall state penitentiary system as they are investigated for alleged wrongdoing.

Officials have repeatedly combatted corruption at La Mesa. The prison just across the U.S. border from San Diego, California, once had its own homes, shops, prostitutes and drug gangs before federal police raided it and bulldozed the inmate village in 2002.



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