At Least Seven Dead in Guatemala Prison Riot  

Officials in Guatemala said Thursday that at least seven people were dead after clashes involving rival gangs escalated into a riot in a western Quetzaltenango state prison.Guatemalan Penitentiary System Director Luis Rodolfo Escobar told reporters the clashes began Wednesday at the prison, in Cantel, about 205 kilometers west of Guatemala City, when one gang learned of the death of the wife of one of its members.Escober said Thursday that security teams had taken control of the prison and were doing a head count to make sure no one had escaped.Police said at least six of the victims from the riot were found beheaded on a patio in the prison. The officials said the prison was built to house 500 prisoners, but The Associated Press reported it currently holds more than 2,000 inmates.Violence in Guatemala prisons is not uncommon as the facilities are notoriously overcrowded and out of date. Meanwhile, gang violence in Guatemala is among the worst in the world. The U.S. State Department recommends that citizens not travel to the country because gang violence and crime are common.Last month, the State Department imposed sanctions on a current member of Guatemala’s congress and a former presidential aide, for corruption.

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