September 1, 2023 2 min read


Cartel Head Related to Casino Arson in Mexico Sentenced

More than a decade after a deadly arson at Casino Royale took the lives of 52 people, Luis Adán Gómez Vázquez, the alleged head of the infamous Los Zetas cartel was sentenced to 32 years in prison on charges not related to the fire itself

A deadly fire at Casino Royale located in Monterrey, Mexico, dating to August 2011, resulted in the death of 52 guests. The arson attack was conducted by a criminal organization known as the Los Zetas. Now, more than a decade after the deadly crime, Luis Adán Gómez Vázquez, who also used the alias José Pérez and was infamous as “El Gordo” or “El Comandante,” suspected to be the head of the Los Zetas cartel, was sentenced to prison.

After a lengthy investigation and trial, Vázquez received a conviction of 32 years in prison. Along with that, he was hit with a fine of 392,610 pesos ($23,000). The man, believed to be the head of the deadly cartel serves his prison sentence at the Federal Center for Social Readaptation Number 7, located in Guadalupe Victoria, Durango, Telediario reveals.

Vázquez used to serve in the Army between 1993 and 1999. After that, from 2002 through 2008, he was a police officer as a part of the Monterrey municipal police. Then in 2008, it is believed that he became a part of the Los Zetas cartel.

In light of his extensive experience with law enforcement, he had accumulated knowledge and connections that were beneficial for the cartel. An investigation claimed that he was in charge of a network of “vigilantes”, individuals also referred to as hawks, that used to patrol the city and report activities by law enforcement officers.

Despite the allegations of a relation of the cartel to the deadly fire at Casino Royale in 2011, Vázquez was sentenced to prison over other charges. He was arrested in September 2011 after extensive surveillance work.

Vázquez was detained along with other alleged cartel members and in possession were found long and short-barrel weapons, along with ammunition and narcotics. It is believed that while in the Army, Vázquez created contacts that enabled him to gain access to weapons that are exclusively available to soldiers.

The arson at Casino Royale took place on August 25, 2011, when a group of armed men with multiple vehicles arrived at the venue. The man carried cans of gasoline and started spraying the casino’s floors, furniture and slot machines before igniting them. Once the fire started burning, it quickly engulfed the casino, resulting in the deaths of many of the visitors, with some dying after being treated for their wounds in hospital.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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