State prosecutors today moved to drop criminal charges against Mario de la Fuente Manriquez, former CEO of his father's Mexican media empire.
The motion to dismiss charges of money laundering, assisting a criminal syndicate, conspiracy and fraud is a major win for Manriquez, who's fought the allegations since his arrest earlier this year. At the same time, it seems like something of an embarrassment for law enforcement officials who touted the case in a news conference like it was a major organized-crime bust.
This summer, the state dropped their case against Manriquez's son, Mario de la Fuente Mix.
Charges remain against several other defendants in the case, which involved the purchase and operation of local nightclubs and exotic car dealership's with millions of Manriquez's dollars. Police said the money was apparently made legitimately in Mexico through Manriquez's former businesses, which include OmniCable (later bought by Megacable) and the El Diario newspaper in Nogales.
We're not yet sure what will happen to the seized millions, but we imagine Manriquez will get his money back. We'll update the blog with more info on this case tomorrow.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.