MEXICO CITY — Some of Mexico’s most notorious drug capos irked by a price hike on junk food inside federal prisons found an ally in the country’s consumer protection agency Wednesday.
The federal prosecutor for the consumer said prisoners shouldn’t be gouged and should be able to buy products at the same price as the regular market.
The newspaper Reforma reported Wednesday that some of Mexico’s most notorious drug bosses, including former Juarez cartel boss Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, were among dozens of signatories of a complaint to the consumer agency.
The agency announced later in the day that it had opened an investigation.
The prisoners complained that prices have jumped 20 percent since prison commissaries were reorganized in October, boosting the price of a bag of Cheetos from $2.35 to $3.30.
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Imprisoned drug lords are among inmates who have raised their voices to object to the high price of chips in federal penitentiaries.
Pricey papitas, as chips and other fried goodies are known, have prompted 130 prisoners in two federal penitentiaries to write and complain to the head of the consumer protection agency, Profeco.
Signatories include former drug cartel bosses such as Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who led the Juárez Cartel; Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado, former leader of the Guerreros Unidos; and José Noé Barajas Esquivel, one-time operator in Michoacean for the Caballeros Templarios gang.
The inmates complain that prices of products including junk food, toiletries and stationery rose by an average of 20% after a reconfiguration in October of the stores in the penitentiaries.
“We’re forced to purchase food, hygiene and stationery products with an excessive and unjustified markup,” said the prisoners.
“We’re forced to because adequate nourishment is not provided, because there only exists one option that has a monopoly on the sale of products, because we need stationery products to communicate with our relatives and the courts in order to exercise our right to a defense,” continued the letter.
The inmates requested that realistic prices be charged in the penitentiaries and punishment for those who carry out what they called abuse, “because they can’t sell us things at whatever prices they decide just because we’re imprisoned in a federal facility.”