May 1, 2000

Prostitutes, dogs found in Colombian prison after riot

                  BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- They made their own booze, hired prostitutes
                  and kept Rottweilers as pets ... until the police retook control of Colombia's
                  largest prison from the inmates.

                  In a massive weekend raid on the Modelo penitentiary, police said Monday they
                  discovered a private sauna and gym, distilleries, drugs and dogs. There were
                  weapons everywhere. And police were surprised to find 511 women in the
                  all-male prison, allegedly prostitutes hired to stay for several days to offer their
                  services to inmates.

                  National Police Chief Rosso Jose Serrano described the prison as a hotbed of
                  corruption and a center of extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and
                  prostitution. Inmates hid radios, cellular phones, and computers in their cells,
                  which police said they used to manage criminal bands outside the prison.

                  "In each wall, there was a false tile or brick and behind that tile, a radio, a
                  weapon, marijuana, ammunition," Serrano said.

                  One inmate, a leader of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
                  enjoyed a sauna and a private gym in his cell, police said. He has been ordered
                  transferred to another prison.

                  The massive sweep of the prison came after 25 inmates were killed in bloody
                  clashes between rival gangs in the penitentiary in a 12-hour battle Thursday.

                  The search of the overcrowded prison also yielded 35 firearms -- including two
                  AK-47 assault rifles -- nearly nine pounds of explosives, knives and grenades.