Thief from Heist of Mexico’s Casino Royale That Left 52 Dead Takes Own Life

In 2011, the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico, became the target of a band of criminals who left 52 customers dead as they robbed the property. Police rounded up most of the gang and sent them to prison, where one just committed suicide in his jail cell.

Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico
Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico
Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico the day after a criminal gang attacked it. One of the assailants committed suicide in his jail cell this week. (Image: Cuartoscuro)

Durango state media reported the death of Jesús Rafael Torres Bautista, alias “El Colitas.” He was serving times at the Federal Center for Social Reintegration (Cefereso, for its Spanish acronym) Number 14 for a seemingly endless list of crimes.

The media published that a guard making his rounds found the body of the 29-year-old hanging in his cell with wounds on his arms. Attempts to resuscitate him were futile. Torres Bautista was a member of the criminal group Las Zetas, one of the deadliest gangs in Mexico.

Criminal Life Comes to an End

At the scene, agents of the Public Ministry found the lens of his glasses full of blood. This led them to believe that he initially tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists. Similarly, unofficial sources indicate that investigators believe that Torres Bautista, failing to get the results he wanted quickly enough, took a piece of his bedsheet and hung himself.

In addition, the investigation revealed that Torres Bautista consumed controlled medication to treat depression and anxiety. However, authorities haven’t released information about the amount he may have ingested prior to his suicide.

El Colitas was one of many who participated in the Casino Royale attack on August 25, 2011. In the attack, a group of armed men broke into the property as they began their rampage. They stole belongings, doused gasoline everywhere and set the place on fire. They even threw live grenades during the ensuing chaos.

Torres Bautista was one of the primary instigators in the attack. He immediately began firing his rifle as soon as he entered and then proceeded to take the valuables of the 200 people who were in the place.

The cause of the attack, according to the investigation that followed, was money. The casino’s owner refused to pay MXN150,000 (US$7,188) for floor rights. For that amount, 52 innocent people lost their lives.

During the subsequent investigations, police arrested 25 men, including Torres Bautista. However, it is believed that more may have participated.

At 18 years old, Torres Bautista was already the leader of a Los Zetas cell composed mostly of underage women. He and his gang operated in one of the most marginalized regions of Monterrey. They committed at least 10 executions and at least 50 more crimes, such as kidnappings and robberies, according to media outlet Proceso.

Casino Royale Disappeared, But Not the Memories

During the attack, many people were trampled by the stampede and emergency exits were locked. Almost all of the victims suffocated to death from carbon monoxide poisoning, some hiding in bathrooms and offices after trying to flee from the assailants.

Hours later, the second floor of the building collapsed. Before the attack, there were around 100 people inside the casino.

In March of last year, the Casino Royale began to disappear. Construction crews arrived on March 3 to start demolishing the property. The casino closed the day of the attack, never to reopen again.

The demolition took approximately six months. The building received severe damage due to the attack, exacerbated by subsequent neglect.

However, many wanted the building to remain, at least a while longer. Families of the victims, most of whom were women, fought for the preservation of the casino. It served as a memorial of the attack, and also as a reminder that authorities needed to keep searching for all of those involved. However, their voices were ignored.

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