"It all started with something that is by now horrifyingly routine: a YouTube video of the gory execution of a Mexican policeman by a gang of narcotraficantes. Posted on July 22, it begins with the interrogation of the policeman, who was from the northern state of Durango, by masked gangsters employed, in this case, by one of Mexico’s most powerful trafficking groups, the Zetas. Such interrogations have been circulated on the Internet before, and, as here, they often end in death. However, in the course of this particular video the policeman stated that the director of a federal prison in Durango was in the habit of releasing and arming certain prisoners at night, so that they could commit murders aimed, broadly speaking, at the Zetas. The recent massacre of seventeen people attending a birthday party in the neighboring state of Coahuila was the work of these temporarily sprung assassins, the policeman said, as were two other mass killings earlier this year.
The policeman’s account gained instant notoriety, and came to the attention of federal authorities in Mexico City. At a press conference on July 25—three days after the YouTube posting—the Attorney General’s spokesman confirmed the story, adding that the R-15 rifles used in the Coahuila massacres were indeed standard issue for federal prison guards—a fact that had apparently gone unremarked before. Pending further investigation, the government placed a number of people under temporary arrest, including the director of the Durango prison, a chunky, tough-looking blonde by the name of Margarita Rojas Rodríguez.
What happened next was astonishing. The inmates of the prison rioted, killed a prison guard, and demanded that Señora Rojas be restored to her post immediately, surely the first time in history that prisoners have risen up on behalf of their jailer. .... "