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Guatemalans Raid Luxury Prison Run By Inmates

From those lovers of diversity at Reuters:

Guatemalan soldiers take the control of Pavon prison in Fraijanes, Guatemala on Monday Sept. 25, 2006.

Troops storm luxury prison run by inmates

September 26, 2006

FRAIJANES, Guatemala (Reuters) — Security forces took over a Guatemalan prison controlled for more than 10 years by inmates who produced drugs, lived in spacious homes with luxury goods and even rented space for stores and restaurants.

Seven prisoners died when 3,000 police and soldiers firing automatic weapons stormed the Pavon prison just after dawn Monday. Inmates, some carrying grenades, fired back

Guards, often corrupt, only patrolled the prison's perimeter and ran the administration section while inmates organized crime empires on the outside from cell blocks and houses they built on the sprawling prison's large grounds…

Luis Alfonso Zepeda, a convicted murderer who headed an "order committee" elected by prisoners that controlled the prison for more than a decade, was killed in a shootout with security forces.

Zepeda earned around $25,000 a month from extortion and drug trafficking run from inside the prison, police said. His son Samuel lived illegally inside the prison to help run the crime empire, even though he was never sent there by a court.

Prisoners had set up laboratories to produce cocaine, crack and liquor inside Pavon, on the edge of the town of Fraijanes…

Inmates also built their own homes in the prison grounds. One belonging to a Colombian drug trafficker had a Jacuzzi, national prison director Alejandro Giammattei said.

The two-story wooden house boasted a king-sized bed and was protected by pedigree guard dogs, a witness said…

The "order committee" sold new prisoners title deeds to homes in the grounds and rented space where inmates set up restaurants selling home cooking like stews and tortillas.

Stores controlled by the prisoners sold soft drinks and chips brought in from the outside…

The operation came a day after Guatemala's main newspaper Prensa Libre published a long article about the prisoners' often relaxed lifestyle. Journalists who got into the prison said they bought marijuana, cocaine and crack there.

Sometimes it seems like a horse race as to which will subsume the West first.

Islam or the (other) Third World?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 26th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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