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La Mesa – A Mexican prison just over the US border. The inmates? Drug traffickers, rapists, cartel killers. They have tough times ahead. They hardly get to leave their cells. They sleep, eat, pee, all in a very confined space—two square meters each–for up to eight inmates. La Mesa is ruled with an iron fist – and for a good reason. Its story is infamous. Cartel bosses used to rule this place, which was full of drugs, prostitution, and violence. Another bleak chapter followed – times of riots and fatalities. Nowadays, La Mesa is carefully controlled. Inmates are separated and locked away–like cartel killer Francisco Javier Villa Padilla, sentenced for murdering police officers. After killing his victims, he hung their bodies from a bridge. He has been in La Mesa for seven years. Every day, he trains in his tiny cell. He knows that when he gets out, killers will be after him. The American Taylor Elliott Howard was sentenced for car theft and possession of a weapon. He shares a cell with six fellow countrymen. Americans in a Mexican prison? Treated like scum. Every day, Taylor hopes to somehow survive the next nine years. And rustle up some money. In La Mesa, inmates have to pay for everything – even toilet paper. In charge of the place? Director Cesar Daniel Acevedo. La Mesa is the sixth Mexican prison he has tried to sort out. Every day he does everything to ensure that the inmates don’t gain control of La Mesa again.
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