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Hard Time? Saunas, Bars, Cable TV Discovered in Notorious Mexican Prison

© AFP 2023 / YURI CORTEZA prison guard , Mexico (File)
A prison guard , Mexico (File) - Sputnik International
Nearly 50 people were killed last week inside the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, northern Mexico, after what began as a clash between rival gang leaders. During the investigation, authorities found inmates enjoying surprisingly luxurious living conditions.

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The probe revealed that some Mexican prison cells would rival vacation luxury, with saunas, bars and plenty of other facilities. The only catch? You may get killed in a riot if you don't make friends with the people who control the place. And those people are not the guards.

A struggle in the prison broke out just before midnight last Wednesday between a new group of inmates and a gang that had ruled Topo Chico for some time, according to a video statement by Nuevo Leon Attorney General Roberto Flores. The riot was soon brought under control, but 49 people died in the chaos, and when authorities entered the scene to investigate the case, they found life in the prison very different from what you might expect.

According to Nuevo Leon state authorities, many cells inside Topo Chico were outfitted with mini refrigerators, air conditioners, digital cable, and even aquariums. One drug cartel leader had a king-sized bed.

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The prison had saunas, a bar, and almost 300 inmate-run food and grocery stalls. Heavy machinery was used to excavate hundreds of pieces of contraband furniture and other goods.

In the overcrowded prison, police also discovered and destroyed hundreds of altars to Saint Death, a skeletal folk art deity believed to favor drug traffickers.

Even before the riot, the prison was notorious for ill practices. Earlier inspections uncovered poorer prisoners buying their food at inflated prices and having to rent cell space from well-connected prisoners. If the poor inmates had no money or were unwilling to pay, they slept in corridors.

"We knew about all of the irregularities that existed, arbitrary acts, abuses, taxes," Nuevo Leon's security secretary said in the statement.

On Monday, a representative of the United Nations called on Mexico's government to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the riot.

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