PIEDRAS NEGRAS, (AP):
More than 132 inmates escaped through a tunnel from a prison in northern Mexico on Monday, setting off a massive search by police and soldiers in an area close to the US border.
Up to yesterday, officials said they have found three of the inmates, lowering the number of escaped prisoners to 129.
Three female inmates were found hiding in a prison visiting area, Jorge Luis Moran, the public safety secretary of the northern border state of Coahuila, told the television network Televisa.Authorities in Coahuila state said the 132 inmates fled the prison in Piedras Negras, a city across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, through a tunnel that was 21 feet long and four feet in diameter, then cut their way through a chainlink barrier and escaped on to a neighbouring property.
Coahuila Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria said the director and two other employees of the state prison have been detained for an investigation into the escape and are being questioned about possible involvement by authorities at the penitentiary. The prison houses about 730 inmates and the escape represented almost a fifth of its population.
The tunnel "was not made today. It had been there for months," Ramos told the Milenio TV station. "The prison was not overcrowded, none of our prisons are. We have 132 inmates escaping through a tunnel, and it doesn't make sense."
Authorities say they also found ropes and electric cables they believe were used in the break.