Mexico’s Casino Royale attack that killed 52 leads to the suicide of a key instigator

Posted: July 13, 2022, 9:36 a.m.

Last update: July 13, 2022, 12:23 p.m.

In 2011, Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico became the target of a gang of criminals who killed 52 patrons while robbing the property. The police eventually rounded up most of the gang members and sent them to jail, where one member just committed suicide in his jail cell.

Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico
Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico, the day after a criminal gang attack. One of the attackers committed suicide in his prison cell this week. (Image: Cuartoscuro)

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

Media reported that a guard on his rounds found the 29-year-old’s body hanging in his cell with wounds to his arms. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Torres Bautista was a member of the criminal group Las Zetas, one of Mexico’s deadliest gangs.

At the scene, public prosecutors found the lens of his glasses full of blood. This led them to believe that he first attempted suicide by slicing his wrists.

Likewise, unofficial sources indicate that investigators believe that Torres Bautista, not having obtained the results he wanted quickly enough, took a piece of his sheet and hung himself.

End of criminal life

The investigation also revealed that Torres Bautista used controlled medications to treat depression and anxiety. However, authorities have not released information on how much he may have ingested prior to his suicide.

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

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

The purpose of the attack, according to the ensuing investigation, was money. The casino owner refused to pay 150,000 MXN (7,188 USD) for the speaking rights. For this amount, 52 innocent people lost their lives.

During ensuing investigations, police arrested 25 men, including Torres Bautista. However, it is believed that others may have participated.

At 18, Torres Bautista was already at the head of a Los Zetas cell composed mainly of underage women. He and his gang operated in one of the most marginalized areas of Monterrey. They committed at least 10 executions and at least 50 other crimes, such as kidnappings and robberies, according to the outlet Process.

Casino Royale is gone, but not the memories

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

A few hours later, the second floor of the building collapsed. Before the attack, there were about 100 people inside the casino.

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

The demolition took about six months. The building suffered severe damage from the attack, compounded by the neglect that followed.

However, many wanted the building to stay at least a little longer. The families of the victims, most of whom were women, fought for the preservation of the casino. It served as a memorial to the attack, and also a reminder that authorities should continue to search for everyone involved. However, their voices were apparently ignored.