Prostitutes, drugs and peacocks: inmates go 'loco' in Acapulco prison

It is a sparkling seaside city that used to be the playground of American film stars, but officials in Acapulco are wearing red faces after a surprise search of its jail revealed that some of its inmates had also found a way to lead a life of pleasure and indulgence behind bars.

The raid, conducted by 500 federal police officers in the early hours of Monday in preparation for the transfer of 60 inmates to a maximum-security prison, turned up 19 prostitutes living in the complex as well as two full sacks of marijuana, 100 fighting cocks and two peacocks.

"We're investigating the culprits," said Arturo Martinez, a spokesman for the anti-drugs forces in Guerrero, the western state in which Acapulco lies. The peacocks had been smuggled in as "pets", he said.

The presence of the pot, prostitutes and poultry did not need further explanation; cock-fighting remains a popular sport in Mexico. Additionally, they found six female prisoners in the men's wing, bottles of alcohol and flat-screen televisions.

Mexican jails are traditionally fairly lax when it comes to human comforts, allowing inmates to bring in their own furniture and have regular conjugal visits. But this is only the latest example where inmates have stretched their privileges a little far. Earlier this year, prisoners in Sonora, another state, were found raffling out a "luxury cell" decked out with air conditioning, a DVD player and a refrigerator.

Acapulco has been struggling to insulate its all-important tourist industry from the effects of gang violence linked to drugs, which has surged in the Pacific port city since the arrest last year of the cartel kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as "La Barbie". The capture of the Texan-born don triggered a fierce turf war in Guerrero.