Troops raid casinos after massacre

Porfirio Ibarra Ramirez
Monday 29 August 2011 00:00
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Hundreds of soldiers and federal agents have raided casinos in the city of Monterrey, days after an arson attack on a gambling house killed 52 people in a country numbed by massacres and beheadings at the hands of drugs gangs.

Security forces confiscated about 1,500 slot machines at 11 casinos in Monterrey and its surroundings and arrested three people, Mexico's tax agency said. It said the continuing operation was meant to verify whether the casinos had paid taxes or introduced slot machines illegally.

The government says its conflict with gangs has claimed more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderó* launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006. Others put the deaths near 40,000.

The torching of the Casino Royale has raised questions over regulatory controls for gambling houses.

Authorities have been unable to reach the owners of two companies named as titleholders of the casino.

Jorge Domene, security spokesman for Nuevo Leon state, said an order to appear before police has been issued for owners of the two firms, CYMSA Corp and Vallarta Attractions and Emotions. AP

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