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Six police killed in Veracruz prison riot

La Toma, Veracruz — Six policemen and an unidentified person were killed during a riot at the prison of La Toma when four inmates were being relocated to maximum security prisons.

The incident occurred at the Veracruz prison after four inmates, who were considered highly dangerous, were set to be transferred. Police in charge of the transfers were ambushed by inmates. Prisoners then began setting mattresses on fire.

Veracruz state governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, confirmed the riot and deaths of police saying the ambush led to the death of six policemen as well as of another man that the General State Prosecutor’s Office (FGE) has not identified. They have only said that the deceased man was not a prisoner.

Yunes Linares explained that several inmates were also injured, two seriously. Another five are reported to have moderate injuries. At least 15 policemen were hospitalized, one of them in serious condition.

The governor announced that the State Human Rights Commission will intervene and that the Ministry of Public Security will guard the prison until it returns to normal.

An audio of the riot that is alleged to be from the prison, has been circulating.

Yunes Linares denied that any official of his administration has threatened any inmate with death and said that the audio circulating about the riot belongs to those who participated in the death of police officers.

He said he was aware of the illicit activities of the four prisoners and sought to send those involved to maximum security prisons, noting they were known for generating violence in the Córdoba-Orizaba area and belong to criminal gangs linked to homicides, kidnappings and other serious crimes.

The governor downplayed the CEDH report that detailed the overpopulation of state penitentiaries by up to 70 percent calling the criminal penalties of Misantla, Jalacingo, Tantoyuca, Pánuco and Chicontepec “minors”. However, last month, a judge ordered the state to make adjustments and build more prisons if necessary.

“In these centers it is likely that there is overcrowding, but in general there is no overpopulation in criminal of the entity.”