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Mexico prison clash reveals rifles, drugs

MEXICO CITY, Mar 10 – Mexican authorities found more than a dozen firearms, ammunition and drugs in a northern prison after an inmate was killed in a shoot-out with guards, the public security ministry said on Thursday.

Security forces who searched the prison late Wednesday found "14 handguns, three rifles (including two AK-47s), four fragmentation grenades, 500 rounds of ammunition and 135 doses of marijuana," it said in a statement.

The head prison guard has been arrested and accused of allowing the arms in, it said, adding that two policemen were wounded in the shooting.

Last July, Mexico\’s Attorney General accused a warden at the same prison of arming several inmates and letting them out at night to kill 35 people in three contract killings.

Mexican jails are notoriously overcrowded and often see deadly riots and mass breakouts, such as the escape of 151 prisoners from a jail in the northeastern border city of Nuevo Laredo in December.

The country has been gripped by relentless drug violence that has killed 34,600 people since President Felipe Calderon launched a massive military operation against powerful cartels in 2006.

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