15 killed in La Joya prison

The total death count reached 15 inmates Wednesday December 18th, following in a shoot out that took place in La Joya prison in Panama Tuesday.

Officials said they found three AK-47 assault rifles and five pistols. An investigation launched by President Laurentino Cortizo, to find out how the guns got into the prison has begun. 

"These firearms didn’t fall out of the sky, there was obviously some type of cooperation there for firearms to be brought in," he said.

President Cortizo said he would meet his security council on Wednesday to discuss how to put a stop to guns being smuggled into jails.

"It’s something we have to put a stop to. A few weeks ago a search was carried out [in the prison] and arms were found, and now again, so someone is letting these guns in," he said.

The assistant director of Panama’s National Police, Alexis Muñoz, said that the shoot-out was between members of the same gang who had "an internal disagreement".

President Laurentino Cortizo has ordered the dismissal of four prison officials. Walter Hernández, director of the Penitentiary System, deputy director Luis Gordón, José Melamed, chief commissioner of the external security of the prison complex, and deputy commissioner Ismael Arguelles, chief of external security and Corporal Rigoberto Pérez, have all been let go following the incident.