The leader of a notorious street gang that has waged violence in Mexico was among the 27 prisoners who fled a prison on Sunday following an orchestrated armed attack that left 10 guards and seven inmates dead.
Los Mexicles leader Ernesto ‘El Neto Piñón and the gang’s second-in-command César Vega fled the Cereso No. 3 state prison in Ciudad Juárez after the assault to break them out left 15 prisoners and one guard with injuries.
The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense said two of the prisoners who escaped were killed by the police.
El Diario de Juárez reported that at least 25 armed men arrived at the penitentiary at 6:30am and launched a military-style attack, instantly killing two guard at the entrance, where visitors were waiting to enter.
The group later approached a second booth where they tied up and gunned down two more guards. At 7am they then entered the prison’s fourth and fifth cell blocks to rescue Piñón and Vega.
Los Mexicles leader Ernesto ‘El Neto Piñón is missing after he fled from a prison in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Sunday morning during an armed attack that left 10 guard and seven inmates dead. Piñón was sentenced to 224 years in 2010 after he was found guilty of kidnapping and murder charges
Ciudad Juárez authorities arrested five members of the Los Mexicles gang following a high-speed pursuit. All five suspects were arrested on attempted murder, illegal firearm possession and criminal organization association charges.
Inmates are rounded up outside the Cereso No. 3 state prison in Ciudad Juárez following Sunday morning’s deadly attack that left 10 guards and seven prisoners dead
The gang members fled in multiple vehicles through the same entrance they had entered as the inmates spilled on to the streets and disappeared.
Authorities reported at least six carjackings involving the fleeing prisoners.
Ciudad Juárez police killed two gang members during a street gun battle and arrested five gang members following a pursuit.
All five suspects were arrested on attempted murder, illegal firearm possession and criminal organization association charges
At least five of the inmates who were killed were all alleged members of Los Mexicles.
Security forces entered the prison at 10am and restored order at noon following a riot and recovered 10 firearms, drugs, liquor and other personal items that were kept by Piñón in his jail cell.
The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense revealed during a press conference Monday that investigators searching a jail cell found a safe deposit box containing $87,000.
‘The money being secured is in a safe in one of those V.I.P cells,’ Defense Minister Luis Cresencio said.
A total of 10 cells were equipped to the specific likings of the gang members. One of the cells had its own jacuzzi and others had televisions.
Mexico’s Secretary for Security and Citizen Protection, Rosa Rodríguez, said plans are underway to transfer all high-risk inmates from the Cereso No. 3 state prison to other penitentiaries in the country in order to prevent a copycat attack.
César Vega (pictured in September 2015), the Los Mexicles second-in-command, also fled from the Cereso No. 3 state prison
Los Mexicles leader Ernesto Piñón is among 25 prisoners who escaped from a jail in Mexico
The other 25 prisoners have been identified as Carlos Altamirano, 25; Daniel de León, 37; and Alejandro Ayala, 29, who were all jailed on kidnapping charges.
Also missing are Adán Aguirre, 32; Francisco Juárez, 26; Edgar Ortiz, 27; David Ríos, 24; Joaquín Gutiérrez, 42; Félix Sánchez, 43; Iván Acosta, 39; and José Celis, 29, who were each sent to prison for murder.
Investigators found an assortment of liquor bottles inside El Neto’s jail cell
Weapons seized by security forces at the Cereso No. 3 state prison following Sunday’s attack
Issac Rojas, 30; Brayan Celis, 24; Brian de Santiago, 19; Rodolfo González, 41; Christian Reyes, 27; Raúl López, 35; Mario Gutiérrez, 31; Jorge Meléndez, 28; Julio Perales, 32; and Juan Carrasco, 29, were all in prison for illegal possession of military firearms.
José Espinoza, 27; Ismael García, 30; Daniel Rodríguez, 22; and Javier Rodríguez, 25; were jailed on assault charges.
Luis Jurado, 21, was in prison for burying and exhuming human bodies.
It’s unknown if they all have ties to Los Mexicles.
The jail guards who were killed in the attack were identified as Manuel Rodríguez; Carlos Santiago; Abel Juárez; Víctor Rivera; Carlos Salinas;, José Pérez; Jaime Aciniega; Guadalupe Gámez; Domingo Trejo; and Edgar Hernández.
Ciudad Juárez police confiscated gear and rifles from five Los Mexicles gang members arrested during a high-speed chase
Inmates are rounded up and sat together outside the Cereso No. 3 state prison moments after security forces regained control of the penitentiary
Piñón rose to power as the commander of Los Mexicles after Jesús ‘El Lalo’ Soto was transferred out of the prison in February 2020.
He joined the gang as an 18-year-old in 2007 and was involved in numerous criminal incidents, including kidnappings, in Ciudad Juárez, where the criminal faction acted as the main enforcer for Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s old Sinaloa Cartel.
‘The toughest and heartless drug trafficker of the Mexicles criminal group, ‘El Neto’, a substitute for ‘El Lalo’, escaped today from Cereso in #CdJuárez aided by an armed commando,’ former Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral tweeted. ‘He has been one of the generators of the greatest violence in the City from prison, and now he is back on the streets.’
Piñón was found guilty of kidnapping and murder in 2010 and sentenced to 224 years in prison.
Authorities say he was also involved in ordering a wave of assaults throughout Ciudad Juárez on August 11 that left 11 people dead, 20 injured and multiple vehicles and business torched.
The rift was reportedly sparked by Los Mexicles’ fallout with the Sinaloa Cartel faction that is overseen by Los Chapitos – El Chapo’s children – as the gang formed new alliance with Los Aztecas, the armed wing of the Juárez Cartel.
Los Mexicles had also joined forces with the Caborca Cartel, the criminal organization founded by infamous jailed drug lord, Rafael Caro Quintero, who is awaiting extradition to the United States, where he is accused of the 1986 kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Kiki Camarena.
The Caborca Cartel is also at odds with Los Chapitos.
Vega served as Piñón’s main confidant at the Cereso No. 3 state prison, where they both shared a cell.
SUV seized from Los Mexicles gang members who participated in Sunday’s prison attack
Security forces take measures after a prison riot broke out at the Cereso No. 3 state prison in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Guns and bullets are seen in front of the Cereso No. 3 state prison that were recovered by the security forces
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported Vega to Mexico in September 2015, almost four years after he was arrested at an El Paso, Texas, fried chicken restaurant where he was working as a cook.
Vega was detained December 27, 2011 at Church’s Chicken a year after he fled from Mexican authorities after the ambush of the prison van he was being transported in, according to ICE.
He and seven other Los Mexicles gang members abducted Natividad Torres at his Ciudad Juárez home on September 15, 2009.
The kidnappers requested around $47,000 for Torres’ release but ended up taking just $700, a television and a 2008 Toyota. Torres was shot four times on September 15 and released the following day.
He died October 21 as a result of the gunshot wound and Vega and four other kidnappers were arrested the next month.
Vega was sentenced to 42 years for kidnapping and murder.
Visitors stand in front of the Cereso No. 3 state prison entrance following Sunday morning’s assault at the jail that led to the escaped of 27 inmates