Thursday, May 10, 2007

Was Mob Hit Really a Love Triangle?

Puzzled family members made plans Wednesday to return the body of a man killed in a Las Vegas Strip bombing to Mexico as investigators looked into his background for a motive. "They don't understand the killing or the way of the killing," said Johannes Jacome Cid, consul in charge at the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas, who is advising the relatives of Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio.

Dorantes Antonio, 24, was killed early Monday when a homemade bomb left on this roof of his car at the Luxor hotel-casino's parking garage exploded as he picked it up.

Jacome Cid was helping the family handle donations to a bank account to transport Dorantes Antonio's body back to the town of San Jose Miahuatlan, in the Mexican state of Puebla.

Max Dorantes, a cousin helping make funeral plans, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he and other relatives had no idea who left the small bomb that killed Dorantes Antonio as he left work at a Nathan's Famous hot dog stand with a girlfriend. The woman escaped injury. "He was not part of any gang," Max Dorantes said. "He was a working guy, a very good guy. He worked two jobs. He was one of my good friends."

Max Dorantes, 22, of Newport, Ore., confirmed that his cousin was in the U.S. illegally and had two girlfriends - one a co-worker at Nathan's and the other who left their 6-month-old son with relatives at home in Mexico when she traveled to Las Vegas about two weeks ago. He was not sure if the two women knew about each other.

Investigators, who have said they believe Dorantes Antonio was the intended target of the blast, said the explosion was not a terrorist act or a mob hit.

Tom Mangan, a senior special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said investigators were fitting together the puzzle of Dorantes Antonio's dual dating relationships, his immigration status, his travels between Mexico and the U.S. and his work. "The questions are: Who would want to do this? Why this guy? And why this method?" Mangan said. "That information is going to come out once we delve into the details about this guy."

Authorities say the motion-activated device exploded with the force of a stick of dynamite, mortally wounding him in the head and blowing a 12-inch hole in the 1996 Dodge Stratus that Max Dorantes sold him in November. Dorantes Antonio died about two hours later at a hospital.

Police have been reviewing surveillance videotapes of the parking garage to try to identify who left the device and when.

Police have not identified the woman who was walking with Dorantes Antonio when he reached his car, but said she was cooperating with investigators. Max Dorantes said she was from Guatemala and had been dating Dorantes Antonio for about six months.

Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio had been in the United States illegally for about three years, his cousin said. He worked nights at Nathan's Famous hot dogs inside the pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel-casino, and days at Quiznos sandwich shop inside the neighboring Excalibur.

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested three suspected illegal immigrants at Dorantes Antonio's house after the explosion, said Virginia Kice, regional spokeswoman for the federal agency in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Two men were from Mexico and one was from Guatemala, Kice said.

Frank Bonnano, chief executive of the Nathan's franchise owner, Fifth Avenue Restaurant Group in Las Vegas, said he believed Dorantes Antonio provided residency documentation when he was hired.

Quiznos manager Chris Spanna said Dorantes Antonio submitted a Social Security card and a required Las Vegas police health card when he was hired three weeks ago. Spanna said he did not know until Wednesday that Dorantes Antonio was not in the United States legally.

Funeral arrangements were being handled by Nevada Funeral Service in Las Vegas, which said plans and services were private.

Thanks to Ken Ritter

No comments:

Post a Comment