The cat had the gang-symbol for “Los Mexicles” prison gang tattooed on its flank. Photo courtesy of the Chihuahua state government.
A Mexican gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel had a pet inside prison: A tattooed cat.
Authorities seized the cat, which appears to be of the Sphynx breed, with a “Made In Mexico” tattoo on one of its sides after a raid at the state prison Cereso No.3, in Ciudad Juárez. The tattoo is a symbol used by “Los Mexicles” prison gang.
Los Mexicles formed in the border city in 2009, allied with the Sinaloa Cartel against the rival Juárez Cartel and its armed wing, Los Aztecas. Since then the gang has grown to over 10,000 members, according to Chihuahua’s state authorities, and has become one of the most violent gangs in the state in which Ciudad Juarez sits.
The cat was found inside one of the cells belonging to a prominent Mexicles member, according to a government press release. The animal was rescued and turned over to the local animal shelter.
This is the fourth raid inside the same state penitentiary after a massive prison break by Los Mexicles on the morning of Jan. 1st that left ten prison guards dead. At the time, 25 inmates escaped, including Ernesto Alfredo Piñón, known as “El Neto” leader of the gang.
El Neto was killed days later by Chihuahua state police during a shootout.
In a previous raid days earlier, authorities found a mechanical bull, several TV’s and a tunnel that allowed gang members to go in and out of prison at their will and from where drugs, arms and money were smuggled in, according to the government.
A day after that prison break, authorities found 21 rifles, 900 bullet rounds, bullet-proof vests, alcohol, drugs and a safe box containing over a million Mexican pesos (roughly $500,000), according to Chihuahua’s state authorities.
Los Mexicles were allegedly responsible for ordering a series of attacks on civilians in Ciudad Juárez in August, after another escape attempt from the same prison. At least ten people were killed during that incident, including a pregnant woman who was burned alive inside a convenience store and four staff members of a local radio station.
Los Mexicles control some of the border city’s street drug sales, arms and drugs trafficking and kidnapping markets, according to news reports.
Subscribe to the VICE newsletter.
By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.