The public is advised to be on the alert, as 23 gang members escaped from one of Honduras' most overcrowded prisons on Thursday.

The escapees are considered dangerous.

The men were being transferred to a higher-security facility when they escaped from armed military guards.

The inmates, who had been locked up in the special "Scorpion" unit for members of the notorious Barrio 18 gang, made their escape from the medium-security Marco Aurelio Soto prison on Thursday.

The jail's director and several guards have been put on leave. Authorities are still searching for the escaped inmates and are investigating the escape. This escape is said to be one of the biggest in more than a decade in Honduras.

In recent years, Honduras has been moving imprisoned members of the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha gangs to higher-security prisons to try to reduce the extortion, killings and drug deals they coordinate from behind bars.

[Linked Image]

Larger versions of each prisoner photo here.