Violence has soared in recent years in Mexico as the army has attempted to crack down on criminal gangs [EPA]

At least 70 inmates have escaped from a jail in the northeast of Mexico, on the border with the United States.

Prisoners in the city of Reynosa in the state of Tamaulipas fled the jail without any violence occurring, according to a state government official.

"We know that at least some 70 prisoners escaped from the Reynosa prison, we don't know how many exactly, but we can say there was no violence during the escape," the official, who asked not to be named, told the AFP news agency.

The official said that those who escaped had been held for crimes including drug trafficking.

Tamaulipas borders the US state of Texas and has seen some of the worst of Mexico's drug violence.

The state is fought over by gangs for control as a drugs route to the US.

The main two drugs cartels in the region, the formerly allied Zetas and Gulf Cartel, have raised violence levels there recently as the fight for prominence escalates.

Mexcian jails themselves are known for being often controlled by drugs gangs and see frequent prisoner escapes, often with the help of complicit prison authorities.

Another Reynosa prison suffered an escape of 13 prisoners with the help of armed attackers in April.

In March a jail in Matamoros, also in Tamaulipas, was the scene of a jailbreak of 41 prisoners, along with two guards.

In Zacatecas, northern Mexico, 53 inmates aided by prison guards and an armed group, fled a prison last year.

Source: Agencies