A jury in Argentina needed less than a week to determine that four men on trial for robbing a casino committed the crime. Among those who perpetrated the heist last year were a former employee of the casino, as well as an ex-police officer.
The verdict came down Wednesday night. Unanimously, after just four days of debate, the jury members found all four responsible for the robbery.
The quartet allegedly robbed the Casino Neo in Paraná last October. The swiftness and precision with which they committed their crime helped police investigators identify the suspects.
Less than 10 minutes were enough for two criminals to seize ARS2 million (US$12,400) in the audacious morning robbery just over a year ago. The thieves assaulted two people during the attack but didn’t cause permanent injuries.
What was clear from the first day of the investigation was that the pair acted with sensitive information about the casino. In addition, it was obvious that they received help from someone on the inside, who the police quickly identified.
Guilty as Charged
As law enforcement put the picture together, they began making arrests. Ultimately, they charged Eric Agustín Santini, Héctor Emanuel Cejas, former police officer Gustavo Adrián Cabrera, and former casino employee Alfonso Martin Mildenberger.
Cabrera testified on the first day of the hearing and maintained his innocence. He answered questions from all parties. Judicial sources reported that Commissioner Carlos Schmunk also testified, putting pressure on the investigation and complicating the accused’s situation.
The picture that prosecutors put together had Mildenberger and Cabrera conspiring with a nephew and a brother of Cabrera, respectively, Santini and Cejas. They decided to rob the casino, taking advantage of the fact that Mildenberger was an employee. In addition, Cabrera lived close to the venue, allowing him to provide additional details.
Four different defense attorneys represented the four defendants. Despite their best efforts and repeated claims of innocence, they couldn’t convince the jury. The accomplices were found guilty of aggravated robbery with a firearm.
All four will return to court on November 12 to find out what happens next. Prosecutor Mariano Budasoff indicated that the law dictates a minimum sentence of six years and eight months to a maximum of 20 years.
Online Gaming in Argentina Stalls
One of the benefits of online gaming is that it’s more difficult to rob virtual casinos. The Argentina province of Mendoza was only days away from possibly launching its online market but will have to delay it for another two months.
On October 27, Mendoza launched its online gaming tender two years after legislative approval. It said that the closing date would be November 17.
The province expects to issue between two and five online gaming licenses. The validity of these concessions will be 10 years from the signing of the respective contract.
In an update provided Thursday, the Provincial Institute of Games and Casinos accepted a request for an extension from Nuevo Plaza Hotel Mendoza SA and Grupo Codere. The companies want more time to put their presentations in order. As a result, online gaming won’t come to Mendoza until after the new year.
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