Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/MEXICO: THE LOBOHOMBO CASE - DRUGS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THE NEWS.
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 09:17:07 EST
01-11-2000 MEXICO: THE LOBOHOMBO CASE - DRUGS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THE
By JOSE ANTONIO O'FARRILL AVILA.
New information has surfaced in the aftermath of the Lobohombo nightclub
blaze that killed 20 people and seriously injured many more.
Evidence of corruption and vice is now more evident than ever with the
possible involvement of Cuauhtemoc Precinct officials and organized crime
that reigns in these so-called entertainment centers.
Federal District Attorney General Samuel del Villar wasted little time in
assuring that the Lobohombo investigation has led authorities to believe
that an international human trafficking ring is behind the "Titanium Group"
headed by Alejandro Iglesias.
Iglesias, who allegedly owns at least 16 Mexico City nightclubs, has been
summoned by authorities in connection with the fatal blaze.
Iglesias' attorneys claim he is in Houston undergoing medical treatment,
but that he will testify soon after he returns.
But prostitution is just the beginning in these nightclubs protected by
amparos (injunctions) and controlled by mafias dedicated to drug dealing
and money laundering.
The Federal District Attorney General's Office (PGJDF) should not go at it
alone in the investigation because there are several federal crimes that
pertain to the Federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) and to Mexico
The original investigation focused on a lack of safety measures at
Lobohombo which were blamed for the tragedy. Now it's believed Iglesias did
not act independently, and that he was backed by an ample international
organization that, if found guilty, must pay for its crime.
Del Villar said that under the circumstances, Iglesias apparently was the
sole owner of the doomed Lobohombo. But in reality, there are indications
Iglesias is supported by an international criminal organization formed by
people that go beyond licenses and permits to operate.
For the time being, authorities also are investigating public officials who
may have acted wrongfully in granting Lobohombo a permit to operate
although it did not meet safety standards.
As far as human trafficking is concerned, there's little doubt that foreign
women are brought into Mexico to work in nightclubs illegally.
Jose Angel Pescador, head of the Interior Secretariat's immigration
division, has acknowledged the problem, including some cases in which "some
authorities have complicity."
Most women working in nightclubs are clearly identified as foreigners, who
at first are allegedly treated as "tourists," and then are obligated to
table dance, among other things.
"We know the problem exists because we have received several complaints,"
Pescador said. "Two Costa Rican girls who entered Mexico illegally have
given valuable information on the situation."
In explaining how these gangs allegedly operate, Pescador said: "The Costa
Rican girls claim they were originally brought to rest and vacation in
Cancun. They were later returned to Mexico City and forced to table dance
or face deportation.
"The serious accusations," Pescador, "indicate officials of the National
Immigration Institute (INM) could be involved. We're also investigating
It's evident authorities must move carefully in their investigations in
face of the accusations against criminals who may well be bribing officials
and hiding behind impunity. They could prove dangerous.
But authorities must do their jobs. They must be prudent in how they combat
the "giros negros."
They also must make sure nightclubs, cabarets, and other businesses serve
exclusively as entertainment centers where parents can take their children.
The way these establishments now operate is a constant threat to our
community. We can no longer accept this.
And we repeat, the Lobohombo blaze should not be buried in impunity. The
authorities' crack down should be aimed merely at dismantling gangs.
Other elements that effect our families also must be attacked.
We have to start somewhere! Our sincere congratulations to Adrian Fernandez
for his brilliant showing in this year's CART series that came to a
thrilling end on Monday.
We exhort him to continue putting Mexico's name high on the list of
international sports events as he has done in the past.
Fernandez' performance by no means was a matter of chance. It was the
result of years of dedication to a profession that permits no errors under
tight discipline The young auto racer also has been known for keeping a
humble profile in face of victory or defeat.
He continues to be a modest person who has not let fame get to his head.
We just hope Fernandez remains himself, without allowing his ego to get the
best of him.
Brazilian Gil de Ferran finished third in Monday's rain-delayed Marlboro
500 in Fontana, California, dashing Fernandez' hopes of becoming the first
Mexican ever to win the CART championship.
The soft-spoken Fernandez entered the race just six points behind De Ferran
in the chase for the 1-million dollar Vanderbilt Cup that goes to the
De Ferran wound up with 168 points, 10 ahead of Fernandez in the closest
points race in CART history.
Fernandez undoubtedly was a bit discouraged, but he can hold his head up
high for what he did is an outstanding feat.
We are confident we will storm back next year, even if he decides to change
teams or start his own.
"Unfortunately we didn't have the car today to challenge De Ferran,"
Fernandez was quoted as saying after the grueling race which took its toll.
Twenty-three cars took the starting flag, but only six crossed the finish
line, most bowing out with blown engines.
"At the end it was a matter of being patient and finishing the race in the
best position we could."
Fernandez will undoubtedly go down in Mexico's auto racing history among
the best, joining the late Rodriguez brothers, Pedro and Ricardo, who
brilliantly defended Mexico's colors in international events.
Mexico's number one race track in the Magdalena Mixihuca sports complex
(Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez) was named in their honor.
Once again, congratulations, Adrian Fernandez!
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THE NEWS (MEXICO) 01/11/2000
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