At least 132 inmates escaped from a Mexican prison near the US border on Monday, fleeing through a tunnel they dug in the old carpentry workshop, the state prosecutor's office said.
The escape sparked a massive manhunt, with federal police and the Mexican army deployed on roads and highways near the correctional facility in Piedras Negras, a city bordering the Texas town of Eagle Pass.
US authorities were told about the escape so they could take precautionary measures, the Coahuila state attorney general's office said in a statement.
The tunnel used by the prisoners was 2.90 meters (9.5 feet) deep, 1.20 meters wide and seven meters long, and its exit hole was at the prison's northern tower, the statement read.
After emerging from the tunnel, the prisoners “cut a wire fence from where, according to prison authorities, the convicts got out one by one and reached a vacant lot,” it added.
The prosecutor's office said 86 of the inmates were in prison for federal crimes while the other 46 faced different charges.
The state government offered rewards of 200,000 pesos ($15,600) for information leading to the capture of each inmate.
Authorities in Coahuila said that a special police unit killed four suspects in a clash in the town of Castanos four hours after the Piedras Negras escape, and that there are indications that the dead were inmates.
Several mass prison breaks have taken place in Mexico since 2010. The biggest to date was on December 17, 2010, when 141 inmates escaped from the Nuevo Laredo prison in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
Mexico's prisons are often the scene of riots and murders, which left 171 people dead in 2011, according to the National Human Rights Commission.