News / Americas

Mexico Arrests 5 Linked to Deadly Casino Attacks

Nuevo Leon State Governor Rodrigo Medina (L) speaks next to photographs of five men believed to be members of the Zetas drug cartel who were arrested in connection with an arson attack at a casino last week that killed 52 people, in Monterrey, Mexico, Aug
Nuevo Leon State Governor Rodrigo Medina (L) speaks next to photographs of five men believed to be members of the Zetas drug cartel who were arrested in connection with an arson attack at a casino last week that killed 52 people, in Monterrey, Mexico, Aug

Mexico has arrested five alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel suspected of starting a casino fire that left 52 people dead in the northern state of Nuevo Leon.

The state governor, Rodrigo Medina, said Monday the suspects have confessed to involvement in the killings and that authorities are looking for others involved in the attack on the Casino Royale in the capital, Monterrey.  Officials are investigating whether the attack was in retaliation for the casino not paying extortion money.

Last Thursday, armed men carrying a flammable liquid burst into the casino and set the place on fire.  Many of the victims were found inside the casino's bathrooms, where they fled to escape the gunmen, but were instead trapped by smoke and fire.

Video clip: Mexico casino arrest

Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared three days of mourning after the attack.  He condemned the violence as barbaric and said it was the worst attack on innocent civilians in Mexico in a long time.

Mexico also offered a reward of $2.4 million for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.    

Organized and drug-related crime in Mexico has killed about 41,000 people since late 2006, when President Calderon took office and began a military offensive against the country's drug cartels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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