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13 Killed in State Notorious for Drug Violence

December 18, 1987

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) _ Eight people were killed this week during two unsuccessful escape attempts at the state penitentiary in the northwestern city of Culiacan, officials said Thursday.

The killings brought the week’s death toll to 13 in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, which is notorious as a center for narcotics trafficking.

The bullet-ridden bodies of four farmers were discovered on Wednesday, and gunmen killed a prominent local attorney the same day, police said.

Jose Flores, a spokesman for the Sinaloa state government, said three guards and three inmates were killed during an attempted jailbreak Tuesday.

″The prisoners killed a guard, then took his weapon and began shooting others,″ he said.

Prison commander Salvador Ponce Rivera was listed in serious condition after being shot, Flores said.

On Wednesday, a guard and a prisoner were killed during another attempted breakout, he said.

Flores said there are more than 1,000 inmates at the jail, which was designed to accommodate about 700.

Police had no suspects in the slaying of Jesus Michel Jacobo, who was vice president of the National Federation of Bar Associations and a critic of violence connected to the local drug trade.

He was gunned down after his car was struck by another vehicle.

″There is no reason at this time to believe his killing was drug- related,″ Flores said.

The four farmers’ bodies were riddled with 60 bullets of the type fired from an AK-47 assault rifle, the newspaper El Universal quoted Federal Judicial Police as saying.

Flores said police had no suspects. The AK-47 is frequently used by drug traffickers.

Sinaloa state is on the Pacific coast about 800 miles northwest of Mexico City.

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