PHOTOS: Inmates in Mexican Prison Lived in Luxury Before Deadly Riot

Topo Chico Prison
Nuevo Leon Government

A series of photographs released by the government of Nuevo Leon provide a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyles that members of Los Zetas enjoyed while in the Topo Chico prison in the Mexican city of Monterrey.

Topo Chico Prison

An aquarium that adorned the room of a top cartel boss at the Topo Chico Prison.

Photographs provided by the Nuevo Leon government as they set out to clean up the facility show in detail the luxuries enjoyed by Los Zetas. The top bosses of the cartel enjoyed a sauna, a working bar, aquariums in their cells, TV’s,computers and multiple other amenities.

Topo Chico Prison

Nuevo Leon Police Officers seize and destroy contraband found at the Topo Chico Prison

As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, last week a riot between factions of Los Zetas went to war inside the prison leaving 49 dead and many injured. The fight was over control of the prison facility which had been under the command of Los Zetas.

Running a prison in Mexico is a lucrative venture for a drug cartel, according to Proceso’s Juan Alberto Cedillo,during the gubernatorial term of Rodrigo Medina. Los Zetas drug cartel members were collecting about $15 million Pesos per month of close to a $1 million in protection fees from other inmates. Part of the collection fees went to prison officials as well as the higher echelons of Nuevo Leon’s Public Safety Secretariat. Medina received the information as part of an intelligence file from the Mexican military. However, according to Proceso’s article, he did not do anything about it.

The new governor Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez was elected as an independent candidate not affiliated with any of Mexico’s political parties and appears to have been working in a more transparent and efficient manner not normally seen with Mexican politicians. Not being tied to other parties, and not paying Mexican news outlets for promotional advertisement, has led to the new governor being the target of multiple attack articles by Mexican news outlets. 

Topo Chico Prison

Mexican Police officers remove dozens of TV sets, computers and other luxury items from the Topo Chico prison.

Unlike other governors, current or former, Rodriguez does not seem to have minimized information about the riot, lowered the death toll, or even tried to cover up the incident. Most recently, the politician known as the Bronco ordered that all the federal inmates be moved out of the prison. He then had state police forces take over the facility.

Topo Chico Prison

Authorities seized TV’s, computers, Saint Death figurines and other items.

As part of the prison takeover, Rodriguez had the multiple luxurious cells photographed and destroyed. The luxury cells included a sauna, a working bar, personal bathrooms, and personal air conditioning. Police officers also destroyed multiple sculptures of Santa Muerte or Saint Death which is a fringe cult that is widely practiced by cartel members.

Topo Chico Prison

Ceiling of a luxury area that was used as a bar by inmates from Los Zetas cartel. The painting shows Saint Death, a fringe cult-figure with a wide following by cartel members.

After the massive cleanup, Rodriguez issued a statement claiming that luxuries and impunity that had been allowed to take place by previous governors were not going to take place in his state.

Topo Chico Prison

A sauna used by VIP prisoners at the Topo Chico Prison in Nuevo Leon.

Topo Chico is not the only prison facility that Los Zetas have used for nefarious purposes. As Breitbart Texas reported, beginning in 2011, Los Zetas used the prison in Piedras Negras to incinerate the bodies of their kidnapping victims. That atrocity took place during a time when Los Zetas had full control of the State of Coahuila and began a mass extermination where their victims were incinerated at the prison using 55-gallon drums or at private ranches using ovens.

According to Proceso’s article by Cedillo, other cases of rampant prison corruption include the Durango state prison in Gomez Palacios where cartel hitmen were able to leave the prison, take police weapons and travel to the neighboring State of Coahuila to execute their rivals at various bars.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.