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Latino Daily News

Thursday June 16, 2011

Mexican Tycoon with Suspected ties to Cartels, Released Due to Insufficient Evidence

Mexican Tycoon with Suspected ties to Cartels, Released Due to Insufficient Evidence

Photo: Mexican Tycoon with Suspected ties to Cartels, Released Due to Insufficient Evidence

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A judge has ordered the release of the former mayor of Tijuana, accused of having nearly 90 illegal firearms, leaving President Felipe Calderon’s administration reeling, and anti-crime advocates angry.

Jorge Hank Rhon once served as Mayor of Tijuana, but is just as well known for his outrageously lavish lifestyle, which includes his penchant for tequila with scorpions in the bottle, a zoo on his property, and even his own bullfighting ring.

In the early morning hours of June 4, Mexican authorities raided Hank’s home and arrested him and some of his employees, after they say 88 weapons were found in the home.

The Guardian wrote: The attorney general, Marisela Morales, said Hank Rhon had no permits for 78 of the weapons said to have been found, which comprised 40 rifles and 48 handguns. The raid also yielded 9,298 bullets, 70 ammunition clips and a gas grenade.

However, a federal judge ordered that Hank and 10 of his staff be released due to insufficient evidence.

Hank is one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in Mexico and holds a great amount of power in various areas throughout the state.

The ordered release of the former politician has left President Calderon and subsequently his political party, the National Action Party (PAN – Partido de Accion Nacional) with a credibility problem. And as Calderon’s increasingly unpopular drug war has resulting in a horrifying amount of cartel violence producing nearly 40,000 deaths since 2006, Calderon is under constant scrutiny from political rivals as well as the people of Mexico.

PAN’s credibility is being questioned as political opponents allege that he is “freezing out” his rivals in the upcoming election. Though in Calderon’s defense, U.S. officials have long suspected Hank of having ties to organized crime and continue to fear is untouchable by the law.

This insufficient evidence ruling resulted in the release of Hank and some of his associates, but he was immediately taken to the office of the state prosecutor’s office for questioning on the murders alleged carried out using two of the guns in his possession.