JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – The gang that sprung its leader from a Mexican prison on New Year’s Day – killing 10 state guards in the process – is now being targeted not only by police, but by rival gangs as well, a leading prosecutor says.

More than 30 members of the “Mexicles” have been jailed or killed in the wake of the prison break orchestrated by their late leader Ernesto “El Neto” Pinon, said Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Carlos Manuel Salas.

Five Mexicles were killed on Jan. 2 during a confrontation with state police officers; another 22 who broke out of Cereso No. 3 people on Jan. 1 have been recaptured, Salas said.

“There has been complete coordination from police, the National Guard and all levels of government and we have captured most of them,” he said. “Ten gang members participated in the Jan. 2 murder of two (state police officers) and wounded another four. They came in two armored vehicles with five people inside each. We were able to (kill) five of them and five others fled.”

Mexican officials are blaming a 50 percent increase in homicides in Juarez during the month of January on attacks perpetrated by the Mexicles or by rivals targeting Mexicles. That included the murder of two young women who were strangled with the extension cord of a portable heater and six people who were killed at the Urbi Villas neighborhood by two minors.

“We have seen an increase in (attacks) from the Artistas Asesinos, Double A gang and other organizations against the Mexicles,” Salas said.

Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Carlos Manuel Salas. (Border Report photo)

The lead state prosecutor maintains that most of the violence in Juarez is drug-related and that many of those ordering “hits” on rivals or making a play for control of drug sales in Juarez neighborhoods are making those calls from inside a jail cell.

“The state police is trying to re-engineer the prison (because) organized killings, kidnappings and extortions are planned at the Ceresos (prisons),” he said. “All law-enforcement corporations are sharing intelligence, fortifying their intelligence networks to have greater success against impunity.”

Salas took over as deputy attorney general in the weeks following the prison escape. He was attorney general under Gov. Cesar Duarte Jaquez, handling high-profile cases, and a federal prosecutor in Juarez in the mid-1990s.