At least 15 people were killed and as many as 11 injured in a fire and riot Friday night at a federal jail in the border city across from Brownsville, Texas, U.S. officials and a news agency reported.
The Excelsior news agency in Mexico said at least 13 people were killed in what it described as a shootout between two gangs of prisoners armed with everything from machine guns to knives.It said bodies littered the entrance to the prison after the riot that started around 6:30 p.m.
In Texas, Cameron County officials stationed police on both international bridges to keep possible escapees from entering the United States, said sheriff's Lt. S.R. Garcia.
"The federal judicial commander has been in touch with us and so far they've got about 15 to 17 dead inmates," Garcia said.
The Mexican Army called in an elite anti-terrorist group known as the Zorros (Foxes) to quell the disturbance, Garcia said. He said the group was preparing to storm the jail late Friday.
Excelsior said 11 people were injured, including alleged Colombian drug lord Oliverio Chavez. Garcia confirmed that Chavez was said to be among the injured.
U.S. authorities last year said they thought Chavez was running a drug ring from inside the Matamoros prison with a cellular telephone.