Brandon Hernández 8:18 a.m., May 21
Ex-Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon Tied to 149 Gambling Operations Throughout Mexico
Frontera NorteSur, a news service edited by Kent Paterson and run by New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, is reporting that in Mexico "Las Vegas-style gaming, casinos and other gaming establishments" have "spread like wildfire across the country in recent years."
That has led to murders and money laundering.
"In the violence-torn border state of Nuevo Leon, the number of gambling joints jumped more than ten times in the last 11 years, increasing from only 5 to 57 businesses," says FNS.
"The expansion began under the Fox administration, when former Interior Minister Santiago Creel issued new permits before leaving office in 2005 to engage in an unsuccessful bid for the presidency, and continued into the Calderon administration.
"A business which is widely suspected as an important outlet for money laundering boomed at precisely the same time Mexico and Washington were expanding the so-called drug war against organized criminal groups.
"And especially in the northern border states, casinos have been magnets of violence."
The report goes on to say that this May 25, four casinos in Monterrey were "simultaneously assaulted by gunmen who beat and robbed clients, pilfered cash registers and machine-gunned the exteriors of the buildings."
It adds that, "two years ago, a high profile killing in Monterrey took the life of lawyer Rogelio 'El Diablo' Garza Cantu.
"A well-known table dance entrepreneur who was also linked to the burgeoning casino sector, Garza was gunned down in broad daylight while he was leaving a 7-Eleven store."
One big gaming magnate among all of the rest is "practically a household word," notes FNS.
"According to Proceso, former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon possesses 149 gaming businesses throughout Mexico. The flamboyant PRI politician was front and center in the Mexican media last month when he was detained twice and then as almost as quickly released from custody."
Here is the full report: