Mexico Coahuila inmates fled 'via front door, not tunnel'

Mugshots of some of the escaped prisoners The authorities have managed to recapture three of the escaped inmates

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The 131 Mexican inmates who fled jail this week escaped through the front door, not a tunnel as was previously reported, local officials say.

The officials in Coahuila state, near the US border, said guards and a drug cartel had helped the inmates.

The prison's director and other officials in the city of Piedras Negras have now been detained.

Monday's jailbreak prompted a massive manhunt. Three of the inmates have now been recaptured.

'Escape of the century'

"The statements from those we've captured confirm that they left through the door," Coahuila's Public Security Secretary Jorge Luis Moran said.

The tunnel under the prison facility in Piedras Negras Journalists have been shown the tunnel under the prison facility

"There was total complicity, collusion and betrayal from the officers charged with preventing them from escaping," he added.

He also said he believed that the Zetas drug cartel was behind the mass jailbreak, described in the local media as the "escape of the century". He said the cartel was trying to replenish its ranks.

State officials earlier claimed that the prisoners had fled one by one through a tunnel measuring 2.9m (9.5 ft) in depth and 7m in length.

They also offered rewards of 200,000 pesos ($15,600; £9,600) for information leading to the arrest of each prisoner.

This is not the first time such a mass breakout has taken place in Coahuila, but it is easily one of the biggest in recent years, says the BBC's Will Grant in Mexico City.

Such events only serve to undermine further the incoming government of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto by exposing the dire state of the prison system in Mexico, our correspondent says.

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