Mexican cartel leader dies in shootout after mass jail break

  • World
  • Thursday, 05 Jan 2023

Family members of prison guard killed during a riot at the Cereso 3 prison react over the coffin during a tribute to pay homage to the prison guards killed and to the police officers from the State Investigation Agency killed during the search for the fugitives, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An escaped Mexican cartel kingpin known as "El Neto" died after a shootout early on Thursday, four days after he fled prison in a violent mass break-out, authorities said.

El Neto", whose full name was Ernesto Alfredo Pinon de la Cruz, was tracked down by intelligence forces in the city of Ciudad Juárez on the U.S. border, and then shot after a pursuit, officials said.

"He was located, chased. He was injured, but on the way (to the state attorney general's offices) he died," Chihuahua state governor Maru Campos said on Twitter.

"El Neto", a top gunman for the "Los Mexicles" cartel, escaped with 29 other inmates after raiders in armored vehicles attacked the prison in the border town of Juarez early on New Year's Day.

At least 19 people, including guards and other prisoners, died in the assault, one of Mexico's bloodiest prison raids in recent years, authorities said.

Police and security forces launched a manhunt. At least seven people, including police, were killed in another confrontation during the search in the state on Monday, authorities said.

Federal authorities who arrived to restore order said they found inmates had set up a "VIP zone" in the state-run prison with stashes drugs and money.

State prosecutors in Chihuahua said the head of the Juarez prison had been dismissed and was under investigation alongside others.

(Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Jackie Botts and Andrew Heavens)

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