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Mexico charges 12 prison officials in jailbreak

EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - A man in military fatigues lies dead next a truck on a road after a gunbattle between rival drug gangs near the town of Ruiz, in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, Wednesday May 25, 2011. The Mexican army said they found 29 bodies wearing fake military uniforms heaped across the roadway and inside bullet-riddled vehicles. EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - A man in military fatigues lies dead next a truck on a road after a gunbattle between rival drug gangs near the town of Ruiz, in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, Wednesday May 25, 2011. The Mexican army said they found 29 bodies wearing fake military uniforms heaped across the roadway and inside bullet-riddled vehicles. (AP Photo/Nayaritenlinea.mx)
By Gustavo Ruiz
Associated Press / May 27, 2011

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MEXICO CITY—The federal prosecutor's office says the director and 11 officials at a prison in northern Mexico have been charged with helping 17 inmates escape through a tunnel starting in the prison's laundry room.

The prosecutor's office alleges the prison officials in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, across the border from Texas, helped the inmates escape through a hatch hidden underneath a washing machine. The tunnel emerged outside the prison's grounds.

The officials were also charged Friday with gang involvement in connection with Tuesday's jailbreak. They were brought before a judge who will decide their case.

Security at state prisons is notoriously lax. Jailbreaks are common and inmates are often found to be directing criminal operations from behind bars.

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