Thursday, September 1, 2011

Casino arson massacre in Mexico may be rooted in corruption













By William Booth and Nick Miroff
Washington Post

When an arson attack killed 52 people at a casino here last week, Mexico President Felipe Calderon called it the work of “true terrorists” and said U.S. drug users and gun dealers were partly responsible for his country’s violence.

Calderon cast the attack as a galvanizing moment in his administration’s battle against the cartels, characterizing the tragedy as a steep escalation of the conflict between security forces and gangsters who increasingly target civilians.

But a video and series of photographs showing the brother of Monterrey’s mayor receiving bundles of cash at a casino days before the massacre suggest its origins might lie in the old, familiar networks of corruption that have long plagued the country and nurtured the rise of organized crime.

It is not immediately clear what the payments were for or whether they were illegal. Nor is it clear whether there is any relationship between the payments taken by the mayor’s brother and the firebombing last Thursday of the Casino Royale.

But the videotape of the Monterrey mayor’s brother receiving wads of money raises in the public mind the possibility that the Zeta gangsters who carried out the attack were not terrorists but extortionists somehow linked to city hall.

Mobbed by reporters, Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal — a member of Calderon’s National Action Party, or PAN — had no explanation for his brother’s appearance in the casino surveillance footage. His brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

“I am not responsible for what my brother did. I haven’t talked to him. If he’s committed a crime, then he needs to take responsibility before the law,” the mayor said.

An attorney for the mayor’s brother said Wednesday that his client had done nothing wrong and that the payments were for cheese and other food products provided to the casino, along with prize money.

“He’s a businessman, and he likes to have fun in casinos from time to time,” said the attorney, Jesus Martinez Garcia, according to Reforma, one of the newspapers that broke the story. “Some of his customers have asked him to come to the casinos for payment.”

Mexican authorities are operating under the theory that the Casino Royale was the victim of extortion and was torched by gunmen from the fearsome Zeta drug cartel because the owner, who has fled the country, was behind in paying bribes.

The politically explosive images appeared Wednesday morning on the front pages of the two most prominent newspapers in Mexico City and Monterrey and quickly went viral on competing media Web sites and on social media networks. Copies of the images were obtained separately by The Washington Post.

Investigators are focusing on the growth of casino gaming in Mexico operated by well-connected owners. These betting parlors and bingo halls — which operate mainly in cash, many illegally — are established centers of money laundering as well as fat targets for shakedowns, according to Mexico and U.S. law enforcement agents.

When Calderon took office in 2006, there were 198 casinos in Mexico. Today, the number of legal and illegal betting houses has grown to almost 800, according to the muckraking weekly magazine Proceso.




15 comments:

  1. if this the same casino, I saw like 20 guys

    ReplyDelete
  2. Texcoco Mex said.

    An attorney for the mayors brother said Wednesday that his client had done nothing wrong and that the payments were for cheese and other food products provided to the casino, along with prize money.

    When have you ever seen a casino pay you money like that?

    ReplyDelete
  3. He was giving them cheese alright. Mecos!!!

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  4. Nuevo Leon State police officer. Miguel Ángel Barraza Escamilla, has just been arrested for his involvement in the attack on Casino Royale.

    http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/790502.html

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  5. Jonás Larrazabal has just been taken into custody and moved to the "casa de arraigo" en Barrio Antiguo, Mty 11:37 pm

    ReplyDelete
  6. Its the ATF's fault mexico has such deep seeded corruption.

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  7. Wow, as soon as I saw this happen I was wondering if it had to do with corruption or some type of crime. I guess I was right.

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  8. I see slot of people coming in out but this is funny because the zzzz's has been doing this for a while because I had a casino in Veracruz about 4 years ago and it got shot up and they killed some people in there and it didn't get the kind of attention it should and all equipment was lost

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  9. @2:06, it's the ATF's fault that Mexico is a bunch of greedy shit for brains? Mexicans are corrupt by definition! Show me one president Mexico has ever had, or any governing body that has ruled over Mexico that wasn't corrupt!!!! If the US builds a fence and all illegal activity stops over the border, Mexico will see even more blood.

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  10. Another stupid and racist comment from yet another ignorant US nobody, the Mr. Anonymous 5:47.

    One really wonders if such people have ever traveled at all when it wasn't paid for by the long suffering US taxpayer? Put a military uniform on these fools and they suddenly think that they are geopolitical big cheese generals of some sort or another, instead of just another Joe Bubba.


    '@2:06, it's the ATF's fault that Mexico is a bunch of greedy shit for brains?'

    The US racist is the bunch of shit for brains as far as I can see. If it wasn't for our welfare program called 'the military', these people would mainly be sitting around drinking caguamas nonstop. Sad...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Casino arson massacre in Mexico "May be" rooted in corruption??? lol Are you f***ing kidding me? DUH!, WHAT'S NOT RELATED TO CORRUPTION IN MEXICO?, That's what I want to know!

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  12. I once recall a brother of a former president of the Murricans who was indicted for Savings and Loan Scandals, this sort of thing goes on everywhere.

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  13. Americans! You shall know the truth! We Mexicans are not happy at all with president Felipe Calderon and all his administration: from the very beginning he cheated on elections and took over the presidence! Don't trust in all the lies he is spreading around the world!

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  14. We should trust AMLO? Who can you trust in Mexico? No one.

    100 years of corruption has come home to roost. Blame the US as you always have done but you know the truth. You have never had an honest govt at any level. There is not one public institution in Mexico that is not corrupt - from the Supreme Court judges to the fucking traffic cop on the corner.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The politically explosive images appeared Wednesday morning on the front pages of the two most prominent newspapers in Mexico City and Monterrey and quickly went viral on competing media Web sites and on social media networks. Copies of the images were obtained separately by The Washington Post.
    seo toronto

    ReplyDelete

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