Prison Soccer Match Between Rival Cartels Ends With 16 Dead

An argument about a dirty tackle in the penalty box led to firearms being drawn

Prison Soccer Game Between Cartels Ends With 16 Dead
A lone soccer net in a field. (Photo by RINAT on Unsplash)
By Evan Bleier / January 2, 2020 5:28 pm

A “friendly” soccer match between rival drug cartels at a prison in northern Mexico on New Year’s Eve was anything but, as 16 inmates ended up dead.

Held at the Cieneguillas men’s penitentiary in the state of Zacatecas, the match pitted members of the Gulf and Zetas cartels against one another on the pitch. According to The Daily Mail, an argument about a dirty tackle in the penalty box led to firearms being drawn and shots being fired. A riot followed, and it took the National Guard and prison officials around three hours to put an end to the violence.

In the aftermath of the riot, which also left five inmates wounded, officials discovered four guns which had presumably been smuggled into the prison on New Year’s, when relatives could visit for the last day of the year. Knives were also seized.

In addition to guns and knives, the search also uncovered 77 bags of marijuana, a saw, three pairs of scissors, nine phones, phone chargers, two hammers and a bottle of liquor. Zacatecas state security secretary Ismael Camberos Hernandez told local reporters some victims had suffered gunshot wounds, while others were stabbed or beaten with other foreign objects, the BBC reported.

No guards or police were wounded into the riot.

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