Thursday, September 8, 2011

Royale: Victim of cartels, or corrupt officials?

Raul Rocha Cantu, majority owner of the doomed Casino Royale in Monterrey, has reported being shaken down for extortion. But who was doing the extorting -- drug cartels, or government officials?
The authorities and media are exploring this question. Vanguardia paints the attack on the Royale as the result of a showdown between two cartels: The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.
Vanguardia reports that casino owners in Monterrey paid Los Zetas a monthly sum of up to $50,000, and that this raised the ire of the rival Gulf Cartel, which ordered the casinos in May to stop the payments.
Other newspapers, including Milenio and El Universal, report that government officials are also suspected of extorting the Royale, and that they raised the ante from $40,000 to $140,000.
Rocha fled to Miami, fearing for his safety, after his casino was torched by a group of attackers on Aug. 25, leading to 52 deaths.

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