Gang Members Who Allegedly Killed Bank Manager at Argentina Casino Stand Trial

Posted on: August 4, 2023, 08:13h. 

Last updated on: August 4, 2023, 10:10h.

The trial of four gang members in Argentina who carried out a hit on a bank manager is now underway. The assassination occurred three years ago at a casino at the City Center Rosario shopping mall, in Rosario, Argentina, leaving the gambling venue with a curse.

Members of the Los Monos gang in Rosario, Argentina in a court room.
Members of the Los Monos gang in Rosario, Argentina in a courtroom. They face charges of assassinating a man at a casino in the city. (Image: Argentina Ya)

Four members of the “Los Monos” gang in Rosario, one of the most prolific drug trafficking gangs in Argentina, now face justice for their involvement. Among these is a leader of the gang, Ariel Máximo “Guille” Cantero.

Joining him are Maximiliano Díaz, Carlos Damián Escobar, and Otniel De León Almonte. In addition to the assassination, they also face prosecution for a series of extortions.

Unprovoked Attack

The four are accused of orchestrating and murdering Enrique Encino, 64, an accountant who worked as a manager at a bank 60 miles away from Rosario. The reason for the attack was never revealed, but Encino was likely just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was on the balcony when two people from a motorcycle fired six shots at the casino. One hit him in the head, and he died hours later.

Part of the evidence came from the criminals’ own lack of common sense. Díaz, Escobar, and Cantero discussed the attack over the phone, even though Cantero was residing in a prison in the city of Marcos Paz and Escobar in another in Ezeiza at the time of the attack.

In December 2021, prosecutors requested a 22-year prison sentence for Cantero as the instigator of the attack and for attempted extortion. They allege that Cantero organized the hit with Escobar, for whom they requested a 20-year prison sentence.

The investigation shows that Escobar, imprisoned since 2018 for a homicide, held talks with Díaz to arrange the attack. They discussed how it would be carried out, who would be involved, and what vehicles they would use.

For his role as a conspirator and for illegally brandishing a firearm, Díaz is facing up to 34 years in prison. Messages investigators found on his phone when he was arrested a few days after the attack confirmed his involvement and the entire plan.

Almonte could receive a sentence of up to 26 years in prison. He was allegedly the motorcycle driver during the attack.

Drugs, Murder, Extortion

Ortigala, who was a witness in another case that ended with the conviction of drug trafficker Esteban Lindor Alvarado, has no relation to Encino’s murder. He appears in the investigation as the alleged instigator of an extortion demand carried out by members of Los Monos.

Ortigala, with the help of the gang, allegedly extorted a businessman in Rosario. In addition, the prosecutor added that there may have been extortion against the casino itself.

Any ruling against Cantero won’t impact his situation too much. A lifelong criminal, he’s already accumulated enough prison sentences for other crimes to keep him behind bars for almost the next 100 years. He’s participating in the trial via videoconference from his home in the Marcos Paz prison.