At least 27 inmates at a notorious juvenile detention facility in Peru escaped, some staging a riot on New Year’s Eve as guards prepared festivities to ring in 2013, officials said.
A first group of 13 made a run for freedom on New Year’s Eve, followed by 14 others who escaped late Tuesday when a tank truck entered the prison, prosecutor Jorge Sanz said. Police have recaptured eight of the inmates.
The warden was fired and several guards were transferred to another facility while an investigation is being launched to determine if the prisoners got inside help, a statement from the Peruvian court system said.
The escape appears to have been led by a minor known as “Gringasho,” a hitman blamed for more than 10 murders, according to local police chief Colonel Vladimir Gomez.
“The teenagers left through the front door,” Sanz told reporters, expressing surprise at the daring feat.
He vowed a rigorous investigation to determine how the prison was breached.
The Youth Rehabilitation Center of Lima, located in the coastal district of San Miguel, was designed to hold 370 adolescents but houses around 1,000.
Locals have complained that the jail is a source of constant danger, demanding its closure and transfer outside the metropolitan area.
On Monday night, as guards prepared for New Year’s Eve, inmates staged a revolt and during the ensuing chaos subdued some guards and escaped, the statement said.