Monterrey – An extortion complaint has been dropped against the brother of the mayor of the northern Mexican industrial city of Monterrey, a judge told local media.
The case against Jonas Larrazabal, brother of Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal, was closed and the suspect freed from custody after the owners of a casino withdrew their complaint against him, Judge Jose Luis Pecina said Tuesday.
The owners of the Red casino in that city had filed their complaint against Larrazabal for allegedly demanding bribes, prompting his arrest on Sept. 1.
As part of their case, they showed prosecutors videos in which the mayor's brother could be seen receiving money.
The suspect's defense attorney, however, said the cash was payment for the sale of "cheeses and mescal (a distilled alcoholic beverage)" from the southern state of Oaxaca to people linked to casinos in Monterrey.
One of the videos was dated Aug. 19, just days before members of the Los Zetas drug cartel killed 52 people in an Aug. 25 arson attack on Monterrey's Casino Royale.
They reportedly set fire to the gaming establishment after its owner refused to pay protection money in an extortion racket the gang was running.
The gunmen told the people inside the casino to get out before torching the building, but dozens were trapped due to blocked fire exits. The casino also lacked fire retardant materials, allowing the blaze to spread quickly.
Many gaming establishments in Mexico operate in an irregular manner and remain open only through controversial court orders or by making payoffs to corrupt officials.