The Americas

Ex-Tijuana Mayor Charged With Having Illegal Guns

Mexican army soldiers guard the perimeter around the regional Attorney General's office after the early morning arrest of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rohn in the city of Tijuana, Mexico Saturday June 4, 2011. Hank Rhon, one of Mexico's most flamboyant businessmen and politicians, has been detained on suspicion of illegal weapons possession, the federal Attorney General's Office has announced.

Mexican army soldiers guard the perimeter around the regional Attorney General's office after the early morning arrest of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rohn in the city of Tijuana, Mexico Saturday June 4, 2011. Hank Rhon, one of Mexico's most flamboyant businessmen and politicians, has been detained on suspicion of illegal weapons possession, the federal Attorney General's Office has announced.  (AP2011)

MEXICO CITY  -- Mexican federal prosecutors said Wednesday they will charge a flamboyant former Tijuana mayor with illegal weapons possession.

Deputy Attorney General Patricia Bugarin said Jorge Hank Rhon was transferred from detention in Mexico City to a prison in the border city of Tecate.

Hank Rhon was arrested Saturday when troops found 40 rifles, 48 handguns, 9,298 bullets, 70 ammunition clips and a gas grenade at his Tijuana home near one of the casinos he owns.

Hank Rhon legally owned 10 of the weapons, Bugarin said.

Mexican law limits ownership of powerful firearms to the military and requires licensing of most other guns. Violations can be punished by as long as 15 years in prison.

Five of the weapons were registered to public safety groups or police in Baja California state and Mexico City. Another five were registered to people who weren't among 10 others arrested along with Hank Rhon, Bugarin said.

The other 78 weapons didn't have a license, she said.

Hank Rhon said in a letter published Monday that the guns weren't his and he had never seen them before.

Hank Rhon was mayor of Tijuana from 2004 to 2007, but lost in a run for Baja California state governor that year. He is a self-proclaimed billionaire who operates a dog track and a nationwide chain of off-track betting parlors.