A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zeta outlines state case against Hank
in murder of his son's girlfriend <<<rest of story>>>

"Hank is not absolved": Headline in Zeta <<<rest of story>>>


Were some of arms found at Hank's compound
guns that the military had seized
and then let security guards use?

Attorney general says she did not know at first
that the raid involved Jorge Hank Rhon

Jaime Flores Martínez in his Cicuta (Hemlock) column Friday writes that the guns found at former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon's compound that were linked to crimes could have been there because the military let some seized guns leak to security guards working at the compound. Much of the security work at the Institutional Revolutionary Party politician's compound is contracted out to private firms.

Flores writes that security guards, or policía comercial, are strictly licensed and that their companies rent guns through the police, but that guns are in short supply. He said military or retired military officers have been running the Tijuana city police and may have given guns seized in operations to the city police for security guards to use. Column in El Mexicano Flores Martínez also reported that the director general of the Federal Arms Registry of the national Defense Ministry, Gen. José Luis Ramón Velazco Guillén, arrived in Tijuana on Tuesday, presumably to look into where the guns came from.

He also reports that the military forces that raided Hank's compound June 4 belong to a special Defense Ministry group and are not under 2nd Military Region commander, Gen. Alfonso Duarte Mujica, or under 2nd military zone commander, Gen. Gilberto Landeros Briseño.

Meanwhile, Marisela Morales, the federal attorney general in the National Action Party government of President Felipe Calderón, said Thursday that when she dealt with the case at first, she did not realize that it involved Jorge Hank Rhon, which seems to back up Jorge Fernández Menéndez column of Thurday (see below). While he compared the case to the Marx Brothers, it may actually more closely resemble the Keystone Kops.

El Mexicano's front page story about Morales jump page

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Polemics continue in Hank case

groucho marxJorge Fernández Menéndez began his column Thursday about the failure of the federal and Baja California state government's cases against Jorge Hank Rhon by relating them to the American comedian Groucho Marx's quote: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."

"Who is responsible for this fiasco?" the national columnist asked. He said federal Attorney General Marisela Morales got the worst part of it, but said she had to deal with the bad hand she was dealt once Hank and the arms seized on June 4 were brought to the federal Attorney General's Office in Tijuana.

Rightly or wrongly, Fernández Menéndez cast blame on Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, formerly Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's right-hand man. Both are members of President Felipe Calderón's National Action Party (PAN).
Previous story about columnist Rafael Loret de Mola saying Blake, who has ambitions to run for governor in 2013, "best illustrates Calderón's mediocre team."

Hank, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, also has ambitions to run for governor again, following his failed race against Osuna Millán in 2007.

In Mexico City, the head of the Attorney General's organized crime unit, Patricia Bugarín, said an appeal has been filed against federal Judge Blanca Evelia Parra's ruling that there was not probable cause to bind Hank's arms case over for trial. Bugarín said she wanted to see an unedited version of the closed-circuit videos presented by Hank's defense. She also said there was a concern that the ruling "could have the consequence of providing impunity to those who stockpile and carry arms that are only supposed to be in the hands of the armed forces." Story, Frontera. Story, El Mexicano.
Sergio Sarmiento writes, however, that a key element in the case is that soldiers entered Hank's compound without a search warrant.

jorge hank rhon at soccer matchMeanwhile, Televisa Channel 12 in Tijuana on Wednesday night aired a story showing Hank and his wife, Elvia María Amaya de Hank, attending the Mexican under-22 national team's soccer game Wednesday at Caliente Stadium against a team from Medellín, Colombia. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.

The Televisa story aired footage of then-Baja California Gov. Eugenio Elorduy Walther of the PAN being asked in 2004, when Hank was running for mayor of Tijuana, whether there were any criminal investigations against Hank. Elorduy said, "We don't play with justice in Baja California. And much less do we use it ... to attack someone in particular, whether they are candidates or not."

Denise Dresser's column from Monday, saying Hank is well-deserving of receiving a blow from the judicial system and should have been smacked long ago, but that this particular one was so badly done that it was likely to go nowhere. "This is a clubbing with merit that, to paraphrase Cicero: 'If only there could be less justice and more rule of law.' "

The original Cicero quote: “The more laws, the less justice.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hank released from house arrest
after state judge
fails to find probable cause

Federal judge fails to find probable cause
to bind Hank arms case over for trial,
but Hank then was placed under house arrest

Hank freed from El Hongo prison in the early morning, but after being taken to state prosecutor's office in Playas de Tijuana for questioning, he was placed under house arrest at 2-star hotel before a judge freed him. Authorities said he was being detained in the 2009 slaying of a woman

Federal district Judge Blanca Evelia Parra Meza failed to find probable cause to bind former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and eight others over for trial for allegedly stockpiling arms, El Mexicano reported early Tuesday.

However, later in the morning, state Attorney General's Office ordered Hank to be held under house arrest in a hotel in relation to a Baja California murder case. In the afternoon, a judge found there was not probable cause to hold him.

El Mexicano said Hank had been taken to the San Luis Hotel in the La Mesa area not far from his compound. says the two-star hotel at 920 Boulevard Díaz Ordaz has rooms going from 480 pesos, or $40 a night.

State Attorney General Rommel Moreno Manjarrez said Hank was being detained in the 2009 slaying of a woman in Tijuana, Frontera reported. A witness allegedly said Hank may have ordered death of Angélica María Muñoz Cervantes, the paper said.

Authorities of El Hongo prison in Tecate were notified of the federal ruling to free Hank at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday, the paper said. Hank, however, then was whisked away to the organized crime unit of the state Attorney General's Office in Playas de Tijuana to be questioned about state cases. That questioning ended around 7:40 a.m., El Mexicano said.

El Mexicano reported that the transfer from El Hongo was done in such a way that 2,000 people awaiting Hank's release at the prison did not even realize that Hank had left the building.

The Federal Attorney General's Office said it will appeal the federal judge's ruling.

Also Tuesday, a general defended the much-criticized raid on Hank's compound. Story, El Mexicano.

In the end, it all seemed to end up almost the way the humor columnist Catón said it would last week. Last week's verse from Catón.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Opinion poll shows mixed feelings about Hank

An opinion poll in Frontera says that while 49% statewide have a positive image of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, 64% say he should stay behind bars. Roughly a third of respondents thought authorities followed a legitimate tip to search his compound, while a third thought he was a victim of National Action party maneuvering, and another third thought he was a victim of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) intraparty maneuvering. Hank is a member of the PRI.
Story, Frontera.


56,000 sign petition "We are all Hank" : Full-page ads, Frontera page 1 page 2

Los Angeles Times front page story

MexicoPerspective analysis of Zeta's coverage of the case.

Hank Rhon humor


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some of the latest information in the Jorge Hank Rhon case:

Authorities say two guns found on Jorge Hank property were used to kill a security guard in 2009 and an auto salesman in 2010. Story, El Mexicano. Story, Frontera.

Ninth District Judge Blanco Evelia Parra Meza says detention of Hank was legal. Story, Frontera.

Judge Blanca Evelia Parra Meza tours Hank compound, at request of defense. Story, Frontera.

Bishop of Mexicali offers his support. Story, Frontera.