Mexican prison head killed after 3 months on the job

March 16, 2011

The interim director of a state prison in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, has been killed less than three months after the Zetas drug cartel staged a massive jailbreak at the facility, a Mexican official said Tuesday.

Rebeca Nicasio was stabbed to death by an inmate Monday when a fight broke out between a large group of prisoners during a routine inspection, according to the attorney general in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state. Nuevo Laredo is in Tamaulipas, just across the border from Texas.

Nicasio had replaced the prison’s previous director, who disappeared Dec. 17 along with 153 inmates, after gangsters drove up to the prison’s service entrance and whisked away scores of prisoners in a yellow school bus and a caravan of sport-utility vehicles. Guards did nothing to stop them.

The low-security facility houses about 1,200 inmates, including hundreds of federal prisoners with links to organized crime.

In an interview in January, Nicasio allowed a Washington Post reporter to enter the prison, where inmates roamed about freely and administrators whispered that cartel gangsters were in complete control.

Another Mexican official interviewed in Nuevo Laredo, newly appointed police chief Manuel Farfan Carriola, was killed Feb. 2 along with four of his bodyguards and a secretary, after just 32 days on the job.

Nick Miroff is a Latin America correspondent for The Post, roaming from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to South America’s southern cone. He has been a staff writer since 2006.
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