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Mexican businessmen charged in Arizona

Jan. 24, 2010 at 12:19 AM

PHOENIX, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A father and son who own a newspaper, TV station and cable TV operations in Mexico have been charged with money laundering and fraud in Arizona.

A 102-count indictment charges that Mario de la Fuente Manríquez, his son, Mario de la Fuente Mix, and other defendants used $16 million in cash from an unidentified source in Mexico to buy businesses in the Phoenix area, including nightclubs and an auto dealership, The Arizona Republic reported. The businesses were allegedly used for fraud, including one incident where a Mercedes-Benz was sold three times over.

Diario de Sonora, the family newspaper, reported the arrests Friday.

Olivia Ainza-Kramer, president of the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, described the Fuente family as "very respectable." She said Friday the father and son have dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States.

An older brother of Fuente Manriquez was formerly mayor of Nogales, Mexico, which shares a name with its twin city in Arizona.

Along with the newspaper, the family owns a Nogales TV station and cable companies that cover the border area between Sonora and Arizona.

Arizona prosecutors have said they will release more details about the case at a news conference Monday.

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