More than 130 prisoners are on the run in Mexico after a mass breakout from Coahuila jail close to the US border.
The inmates escaped through a tunnel dug out from the prison’s carpentry workshop to a perimeter fence.
The prison director and two other employees are being held over the incident at the facility in Coahuila, the state’s attorney general said.
A massive manhunt is under way, and the US authorities are on alert in case any escapees attempt to cross the border.
Some 132 men managed to escape from the prison in the city of Piedras Negras, which borders Eagle Pass in Texas to the north.
More than 130 prisoners are on the run in Mexico after a mass breakout from Coahuila jail close to the US border
One by one, the inmates fled through a tunnel measuring 2.9 m (9.5 ft) deep and 7 m long, attorney general Homero Ramos said in a statement broadcast on local TV.
The state government has offered rewards of 200,000 pesos ($15,600) for information leading to the arrest of each prisoner.
This is not the first time such a mass breakout has taken place in Coahuila, but it is by far one of the biggest in recent years.
Such events only go to underline further to the incoming government of President Enrique Pena Nieto the dire state of the prison system in Mexico.
Enrique Pena Nieto is to take office on 1 December. However, prison reform is not expected to be one of the main priorities of his government.
At least 38 inmates have died in Apodaca prison riot in northern Mexico.
Security officials said the inmates had either forced or bribed a number of guards to open the doors between two separate wings of the jail.
A fight broke out between the prisoners, in which the killings occurred.
Deadly prison fights between rival gangs are not uncommon in Mexico: last month 31 inmates were killed in similar circumstances in Tamaulipas state.
Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said inmates at the Apodaca prison had also set fire to mattresses and other flammable objects.
“Until now, we have counted 38 dead,” he said.
At least 38 inmates have died in Apodaca prison riot in northern Mexico
Jorge Domene said investigations were under way to establish the causes behind the fight, but that so far the evidence pointed towards a confrontation between rival gangs.
He said the security forces were now in control of the situation.
Relatives of the prisoners have gathered outside the prison, north of the city of Monterrey, to find out news about who has been killed and injured.
Jorge Domene asked them to be patient.
“We have more than 3,000 inmates in this jail and we have to account for all of them first,” he said.
Mexican jails are notorious for overcrowding, corruption and rioting.
In January, 31 inmates were killed at a prison in Altamira, in Tamaulipas state, when rival gangs confronted each other with homemade weapons and knives.
At least 272 prisoners have been killed in a massive fire that has swept through a jail in Comayagua, in central Honduras, according to officials.
Many of the victims were burned or suffocated to death in their cells at the jail in Comayagua late on Tuesday night.
Families flocked to the site, desperate for news. Some prisoners escaped the blaze by breaking through the roof to jump from the building, they said.
Officials are investigating whether an electrical fault caused the blaze.
At least 272 prisoners have been killed in a massive fire that has swept through a jail in Comayagua in central Honduras
The fire broke out late on Tuesday night and took more than an hour to be brought under control.
Dozens of prisoners died trapped in their cells and were burned beyond recognition.
Comayagua firefighters’ spokesman Josue Garcia said there were “hellish” scenes at the prison and that desperate inmates had rioted in a bid to escape the flames.
“We couldn’t get them out because we didn’t have the keys and couldn’t find the guards who had them,” Josua Garcia said.
Lucy Marder, who heads the forensic services in Comayagua, said that reports indicated at least 272 people had been killed.
She later said that 356 people on the prison roster were unaccounted for.
“The majority could be dead, though others could have suffered burns, escaped or survived,” Lucy Marder said.
The prison in Comayagua, some 100km (60 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, was holding more than 800 inmates.
It was feared many of them had fled in the chaos, officials said.
Amid the confusion, relatives gathered outside the prison to try to get information.
“I’m looking for my brother. We don’t know what’s happened to him and they won’t let us in,” Arlen Gomez told Honduran radio.
Local hospitals are treating dozens of people for burns and other injuries.
Some of the injured have been taken to Tegucigalpa for treatment, among them 30 people with severe burns.
Firefighters said they had struggled to enter the prison because shots had been fired.
Honduran media reported that there had been a riot in the prison before the fire broke out.
Prison service head Daniel Orellana denied this.
“We have two hypotheses. One is that a prisoner set fire to a mattress and the other one is that there was a short-circuit in the electrical system,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Prisons in Honduras, a country which has the world’s highest murder rate, are often seriously overcrowded and hold many gang members.