Joe Bruno on the Mob – Brother of Monterrey Mayor Allegedly Took Payoffs From Drug Cartels

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s blog about the horrible fire set by the Mexican drug gangs in Monterrey, Mexico, at the Casino Royale gambling casino, which killed 52 people.

It now seems that the brother of the mayor of Monterrey has been receiving payoffs from the Mexican drug gangs prior to the fire. Gov. Rodrigo Medina said video footage appears to indicate “complicity and corruption,” of images from surveillance cameras at at least three Monterrey casinos in which Manuel Jonas Larrazabal, brother of Mayor Fernando Larrazabal, is seen receiving stacks of bills.” Manuel Jonas Larrazabal’s lawyer said the money his client received was for cheese that he sold to the casino.

Yeah right.

Mayor Larrazabal, of course, is very upset that his brother was seem taking the money (I wonder if the Mayor got his cut) and has said that “no friend or family member” has anything to do with his leadership of Monterrey.”

Yeah right, again.

In addition, Nuevo Leon state police officer Miguel Angel Barraza Escamilla has been arrested as one of the six men who were responsible for actually setting the fire at the Casino Royale. Barraza is alleged to have been an occupant of one of the vehicles that stopped and waited in front of the Casino Royale while it was being attacked.

So what we have here is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, both political and police corruption, as our neighbor to the south, practically begging us to take in their citizens so that they can live a better life.

I say, nuts to that.

If you think this is an isolated incident indicative of Mexico’s inbred corruption, you haven’t been following the news the past 20-something years.

And this problem, through illegal immigration, can travel to our country real fast, if we don’t do something to more thoroughly secure our boarders.

You can bet on that.

The article below can be view at:

Mexican mayor’s brother suspected of taking bribes from casinos

Published September 01, 2011

Monterrey – The brother of the mayor of this northern Mexican industrial city – where an arson attack at a gambling house last week killed dozens – will be investigated for allegedly receiving payoffs from casinos, the governor of Nuevo Leon state said.

Video footage appears to indicate “complicity and corruption,” Gov. Rodrigo Medina said of images from surveillance cameras at at least three Monterrey casinos in which Manuel Jonas Larrazabal, brother of Mayor Fernando Larrazabal, is seen receiving stacks of bills.

One of the videos posted on the Reforma newspaper’s Web site is dated Aug. 19, just six days before suspected members of the Los Zetas drug cartel set fire to the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon’s capital, and killed 52 people who were unable to escape the flames and smoke.

In remarks to the media, Monterrey’s mayor distanced himself from his brother’s activities and said if there is evidence that he accepted bribes he should be “brought to justice like any other person.”

Fernando Larrazabal, who did not take any questions, said he will ask the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office to investigate his brother and added that his sibling will have to clarify any doubts authorities have.

The mayor stressed that his position is “extremely personal” and that “no friend or family member” has anything to do with his leadership of Monterrey.

Larrazabal said that upon taking office he pledged to obey and enforce the law and has since taken decisive action against illegal establishments, including casinos operating outside the law.

For his part, Gov. Medina said an investigation will be conducted “to the end … no matter who falls,” especially considering the “tragic events in which 52 people died.”

Authorities must provide clarity and transparency in the wake of the attack on the Casino Royale, according to Medina, who said Mayor Larrazabal should offer an explanation to citizens and indicate if he plans to resign.

A group of criminals set fire to Casino Royale on Aug. 25 in broad daylight. Five suspected Los Zetas members subsequently arrested in the attack told investigators they did not plan to kill anyone and only wanted to intimidate the establishment’s owners into paying extortion money.

The suspects told investigators they were scolded by their bosses for killing so many people at the casino, which was the target of an extortion racket common in several parts of Mexico, officials said.

Investigators have obtained videos showing the suspects filling containers at a service station with the gasoline they later used to torch the casino, as well as other images from security cameras that show the suspects’ vehicles arriving at Casino Royale, Nuevo Leon Attorney General Adrian Emilio de la Garza said Tuesday.

Since the massacre, authorities have shut down several casinos in various states that were found to be operating outside the law – some protected by controversial court rulings – and lacked basic safety measures.

Owners of some Nuevo Leon casinos have complained that they are extorted by organized crime elements and also by the authorities, who threaten to shutter their establishments if payments are not made.

Several casinos in Monterrey have been attacked by criminals in recent months.

Home to many of Mexico’s industrial giants, Monterrey long seemed immune to the drug war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives nationwide since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle with the cartels.
But the metropolis and its suburbs have been battered by a wave of drug-related violence since March

Police officer arrested in deadly casino fire investigation
By the CNN Wire Staff
September 2, 2011 — Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)

Thick smoke billows from the Casino Royale as firefighters attack the fire, in Monterrey, Mexico on August 25.

Mexico City (CNN) — A Mexican state police officer has been arrested in connection with the drug cartel casino fire that killed 52 people in the northern industrial town of Monterrey last week, federal officials said Thursday night.

The announcement of the arrest of Nuevo Leon state police officer Miguel Angel Barraza Escamilla brings to the forefront the issue of police corruption. Police corruption is one of the biggest obstacles the country faces in its fight against the cartels. It is not uncommon for local and state police departments to occasionally purge officers believed to be working with drug cartels.

Barraza is alleged to have been an occupant of one of the vehicles that stopped and waited in front of the Casino Royale while it was being attacked, said Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas of the federal prosecutor’s office.

Surveillance video footage of the entrance to the casino shows a gray Nissan Xterra that comes to a stop in a center lane and waits for 19 seconds before taking off, Cuitlahuac said.

Authorities had arrested five suspects already, and they said the appearance of the Xterra and other vehicles led them to believe that others were involved.

Investigators identified Barraza as one of the occupants of the vehicle, Cuitlahuac said. He was arrested Thursday and was taken before federal investigators for interrogation.

The five suspects arrested earlier were identified as members of the Zetas drug cartel. The men told investigators they carried out the attack because the owners of the casino had not complied with their extortion demands.

The fire they set inside the casino spread quickly, leading to one of the deadliest cartel attacks since the start of Mexico’s offensive against the cartels.

In a separate action Thursday, state authorities detained the brother of Monterrey’s mayor for 30 days while they investigate a video obtained by a newspaper that shows him accepting money from the owners of another casino.

The video stirred controversy in Monterrey in light of the casino fire, but the mayor’s brother, Manuel Jonas Larrazabal, has said that the payments were not acts of corruption. The money was for cheese and other products that he had sold to the casino, his attorney said.


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