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Two inmates were slain and two others were injured in a gang brawl at a federal prison in Texas on Monday, prompting a nationwide lockdown of the federal prison system.

The event occurred in USP Beaumont, a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Two persons acquainted with the situation informed The Associated Press that members of the notorious MS-13 street gang were engaged in the confrontation. The sources talked to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were unable to discuss an ongoing inquiry.

The incident is only the latest evidence of significant violence within the federal Bureau of Prisons, which is already under siege. In recent years, the organization has faced a slew of problems, including significant staffing shortages, serious personnel malfeasance, and a string of escapes and deaths. Not only that but even federal judges have stated that the BOP is “run by morons“.

Fears of reprisal and concerns that violence may spread to other institutions spurred the lockdown, which is being implemented at the agencies more than 120 federal prisons across the United States. Inmates are held in their cells for most of the day during a countrywide lockdown, and visiting is prohibited. Social visits at virtually every institution have already been postponed due to an increase in coronavirus infections in federal inmates.

 

A countrywide lockdown is a rather uncommon occurrence. The policy was enforced in April 2020, when coronavirus infections in prisons across the country began to rise, and again following the insurgency at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and just before President Joe Biden’s inauguration later that month.

Officers at the Texas prison saw many inmates fighting and responded to secure the area, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Following the incident, two convicts, Andrew Pineda, 34, and Guillermo Riojas, 54, were pronounced dead at a local hospital. Two other inmates were hurt and were transferred to a local hospital for treatment.

In the previous several months, there have been a number of major security concerns in the federal prison system, including many prisoner killings and stabbings. Michael Carvajal, the head of the Justice Department, resigned earlier this month amid heightened scrutiny of his leadership and in the aftermath of the Associated Press investigation that found pervasive corruption, misconduct, and other issues within the department.

In recent years, several convicts have escaped from the Beaumont prison complex, and union officials have denounced what they call a significant staffing issue at the facility. According to a June article by the Associated Press, the complex’s security is so inadequate that local law enforcement authorities privately laugh about its “open-door policy.”

Riojas was receiving a 38-year sentence for carjacking and interstate commerce interference. Pineda has been incarcerated at the prison since February after being sentenced to more than six years in prison on a racketeering conviction.

According to court documents, both individuals had been involved in previous fights while inside.

In 1996 and 2007, Riojas was involved in stabbings in a federal prison in Pennsylvania and a federal prison in Colorado.

Pineda was identified as a member of the Mexican Mafia prison group in court filings. Pineda followed out orders to beat inmates who insulted the gang while incarcerated in a Los Angeles County jail in 2015, according to authorities.

After breaking free from handcuffs, shanking two correctional officials who were bringing them to their cells, and stealing cell keys, two Beaumont convicts stabbed another inmate to death on the penitentiary’s special housing unit in November 2007. They were found guilty and given the death penalty. A Beaumont inmate was strangled to death in his cell by two other convicts a few months later, one of whom was the co-founder of the prison group Dead Man Incorporated.

 

Source: kwtx