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Release of former Tijuana mayor compounds Mexico's judicial credibility problem

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(Read caption) The former mayor of Tijuana, Jorge Hank Rhon, is questioned by reporters as he leaves a courthouse in the northern border city of Tijuana, Mexico, Tuesday June 14. The flamboyant gambling magnate-turned politician has won a second round against state and federal prosecutors after a judge refused a request to hold him in a murder investigation.

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Jorge Hank Rhon was first freed in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after a judge threw out the gun charges against him on grounds of insufficient evidence. This was despite reports that dozens of unlicensed guns were found in his home, two of which were allegedly used to commit homicides.

The business magnate was then taken for questioning over his connections to various murder cases, including that of his son's girlfriend in 2009. Again, the judge ruled against holding him while the government investigates what may be three separate murder charges.

Mr. Hank Rhon, one of the country's richest men, has been connected to the Tijuana Cartel, the murder of a journalist, breaking customs laws by trafficking ivory, and numerous other shady operations. However, he has consistently eluded jail and remains one of the most powerful men in the state of Baja California. His name circulates as a possible candidate for governor of the state or a return as mayor of Tijuana.


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