The director of the Mendoza prisons asked us to visit a prison waaaaaayyyyy out in the middle of nowhere with desert before it and the Andes beyond. There was no lodging around, so he arranged for us to actually stay on the prison grounds in the guards quarters near the dog canals (no, not a quite place). It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had, the prison was very big and we were inside one fence with three more before the prison. A severe thunder storm moved in and it poured all night with lightning splitting the sky. At 10:00 pm, we start to hear loud shouts, guns being fired and the dogs going nuts. A guard rushes into our quarters and tells us there is an escape attempt taking place and not to go out. He puts a dog to guard us and then rushes off. We watched as guards ran the grounds, fired rubber bullets and could see a fire in one of the cell windows. It was like being in a live movie. All night men were shouting and yelling to each other.
The next morning a guard explained that thee top criminal in the country named, “Gato Rayo” (lightning cat), is imprisoned in the maximum security section of this prison and last night attempted to escape. He had planned this a long time, had in his possession a map of the prison and had a van waiting outside. Seven other prisoners were part of the plan, some were decoys to lead the guards astray with no intention to get out. They had cut the electricity to their section so the guards would be distracted trying to get it back on and set a fire in one of the cells. They each got out of their cells (which no one knows how), got out the first and second fence. One took off running on the roof, but in the end, no one got all the way out.
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