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1/20 MATAMOROS, Mexico: Six Mexican Prison Workers Shot to Death

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    Six Mexican Prison Workers Shot to Death By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ .c The Associated Press MATAMOROS, Mexico (AP) - Six prison workers were shot to death and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2005
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      Six Mexican Prison Workers Shot to Death
      By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ
      .c The Associated Press


      MATAMOROS, Mexico (AP) - Six prison workers were shot to death and left
      outside their lockup in this border city Thursday, following a federal crackdown
      against drug gangs at lockups across the nation.

      Police sealed off approaches to the prison across the border from
      Brownsville, Texas, and army troops were ordered to stand guard after the victims were
      found handcuffed and stuffed into a van, with execution-style gunshot wounds
      to the head.

      Authorities said gunmen apparently ambushed the men as they left the the
      high-security prison when their work shifts early Thursday.

      Federal Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha blamed the killings on
      organized crime, while Interior Secretary Santiago Creel suggested the attack
      was linked to the crackdown at the La Palma prison.

      ``These reactions we are seeing are precisely because we are cleaning up the
      prisons,'' Creel said. ``It is because we are making progress that these
      things are happening.''

      The victims included a computer systems technician, two electrical
      technicians, a guard commander and two drivers from the guard force.

      Responding to the murders, President Fox pledged to ``wage the mother of all
      battles against organized crime, drug trafficking, and now within the
      federal prisons.''

      ``We are going to put the federal prisons in order. We are going to act with
      a firm hand to ensure we win this battle.''

      Macedo de la Concha said accused drug lord Osiel Cardenas - who has
      allegedly been plotting to escape La Palma - may have been involved in the killings.
      Cardenas reputedly ran the Gulf cartel that controls the drug trade in
      Matamoros and nearby border cites.

      The killings were the latest challenge to federal officials' control of the
      country's top-security facilities.

      Last week, hundreds of soldiers and federal police surrounded La Palma
      federal prison, just west of Mexico City, after federal officials alleged that
      reputed drug lord Benjamin Arellano Felix had formed an alliance with Cardenas
      behind bars to battle a rival drug gang.

      Officials say Cardenas, Arellano Felix and rival gangs were killing one
      another's members as well as police in a war for control of drug routes into the
      United States.

      Following two slayings of prisoners at La Palma, authorities said they
      feared that criminals had bribed or threatened prison workers into allowing in
      guns.

      They also said La Palma's ousted warden was under investigation. Some guards
      later told reporters they had been ordered to give special treatment to
      dangerous inmates.

      Creel, who oversees domestic intelligence and political affairs, promised
      that Thursday's killings would not halt a crackdown at Mexico's three,
      high-security federal prisons, of which Matamoros is one.

      ``The program of cleanup and modernization of the federal prisons will go
      forward no matter what happens,'' he said in Mexico City.

      01/20/05 23:00 EST

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