Mexican Judge Orders Release of Former Mayor

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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A Mexican judge has ordered the release of former Tijuana mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, ruling that officials lack the evidence to charge him with possessing illegal weapons.

Hank Rhon was arrested earlier this month after a raid on his house turned up dozens of weapons.

He was mayor of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California, from 2004 to 2007.

The son of a prominent figure in the Institutional Revolutionary Party , Hank Rhon owns a chain of casinos, as well as a local soccer team and a private zoo.

In 1999, a report by the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center identified Hank Rhon as having links to drug trafficking, but then-U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said the report's findings were never adopted as the official government view.

The former mayor, who also ran unsuccessfully for governor of Mexico's Baja California state, has denied accusations of corruption and ties to drug traffickers.