TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Police bullets were found lodged in the bodies of some of the 46 inmates killed in a Honduras women's prison riot in June, raising questions about potential police collusion with organized crime, a senior security official said.
Barrio 18 gang members are suspected of firing 15 police bullets discovered inside bodies of rival MS-13 gang members shot and burned to death during the prison attack on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduran Deputy Security Minister Julissa Villanueva said.
"Scientific evidence is telling us that 96% of the rounds found... belong to the police," Villanueva said in a TV interview shared Thursday on her Facebook page.
She added findings pointed to likely police collusion in the riot, one of the worst security breaches in recent Honduran history.
A spokesperson for the national police declined to comment on the official's accusations.
Villanueva did not say how many bodies contained bullets, or how many individual guns were found, police-linked or otherwise.
"What does that mean? That there must have been a conspiracy at one point. With whom? With those who were there at the time, guarding those police posts. And that they gave weapons to some and not to others," Villanueva said.
However, in a statement by the Security Ministry on Wednesday said only one of the 19 guns found had previously been part of police property.
It added that various "police" weapons, ammunition and even vehicles ordered by the previous administration had never been added to the official inventory.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia, Writing by Isabel Woodford; editing by Diane Craft)