The director of the women's annex of a prison in the western state of Tachira was murdered Friday along with her husband, Venezuelan authorities said.

Nelly Ramon, 40, and Jesus Albarracin, 47, "were slain by unknown assailants who shot them without saying a word," regional police commander Wilmer Beltran told Efe.

He said the double-murder took place a few blocks from the prison in Santa Ana, a town near the state capital of San Cristobal, and that preliminary reports indicate Ramon was the target of what looks to be a murder for hire.

"They shot them from a motorcycle or a moving vehicle," Beltran said, citing accounts from witnesses.

Venezuela's prisons service confirmed the victims' identities and said the couple was killed "in the moment they left their home."

The warden and deputy warden of the same penitentiary were slain in similar circumstances in 2007, the head of the independent Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, Humberto Prado, told Efe.

Roxanne Molina, the personnel chief at a prison in the western state of Merida, was gunned down on May 24 while driving to her home.

Last year saw 560 violent deaths inside Venezuela's horribly overcrowded prisons, according to statistics compiled by Prado's organization. EFE