Seven inmates were killed and 59 escaped on Friday from a Centro de Ejecución de Sanciones (CEDES) prison during a riot in Nuevo Laredo, a city of 640,000 on the US-Mexico border.
According to AFP, more than 35 of the escaped prisoners were being held on federal charges including drug trafficking and police say that a majority of the escapees belonged to organized crime gangs.
Five prison guards have also been missing since the riot and are suspected of helping the prisoners escape the BBC reports.
The riot in CEDES, which holds more than 1,200 prisoners, began Friday morning after fighting broke out between inmates. The Tamaulipas state government sent army troops to regain control of the prison.
Prison breaks have been a common occurrence in the State of Tamaulipas. More than 400 inmates have escaped prisons in the region since January 2010. In December of 2010, 151 inmates also escaped from CEDES allegedly with the aid of Zetas gang members in one of the largest prison breaks recorded in the country.
Tamaulipas in northern Mexico is one of the most lawless regions. Cartels have gained influence even as they fight over smuggling routs into the United States, according to the BBC. The Zetas and Gulf cartels are the two dominant players.
The large number of escaped prisoners is attributed to corruption in the prison system and the cartels influence in Tamaulipas. The faults in the prison system are also reportedly due to over crowding from the flood of prisoners that have been arrested since President Filipe Calderón began his campaign against organized crime in 2006.