PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico -

Officials say a massive prison break just across the Mexican border from Eagle Pass, Texas, appears to have been orchestrated by the hyper-violent Zetas drug cartel.

Jorge Luis Moran is the public safety secretary for the northern border state of Coahuila, where the prison near Piedras Negras is situated. He says the government assumes a Zetas connection and that some inmates might have been forced to take part in the jailbreak as a way to swell the ranks of the Zetas.

The Zetas have been fighting a bloody turf battle in Coahuila with the Sinaloa cartel.

Officials said Tuesday they have found three female inmates thought to have escaped through a tunnel at the prison, lowering the number of escaped prisoners to 129. The director and two other employees of the state prison have been detained for an investigation.

They escaped Monday through a tunnel 21 feet long and 4 feet in diameter and then cut their way through a chain link barrier.