Last weekend, a convoy of cars carrying two dozen suspected drug cartel members disguised as Mexican police officers arrived at the Zacatécas state prison before dawn. Their helicopter hovers overhead. Minutes later, the men helped more than 50 inmates – many of them suspected drug traffickers – flee the prison, says the Christian Science Monitor. It was just another day in Mexico’s high-stakes war on drug trafficking.
“[Drug traffickers] are sticking their tongues out at us,” says Erubiel Tirado, a security expert at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. “They don’t care if we have military in the streets. They are capable of breaking into a hospital and executing [a rival]. There is no one who can stop them.” Many of those who fled from the Cieneguillas prison in Zacatecas over the weekend are believed to be members of the Gulf cartel, one of the major organizations fighting the Mexican state and their rivals to preserve corridors to the illegal drug market in the U.S. “It’s clear to us that it was a perfectly planned operation with inside help, because it lasted just five minutes and not one shot was fired,” said Zacatecas Gov. Amalia Garcia Medina.