Missing students in Mexico: arrested without clarification

Missing students in Mexico: arrested without clarification

In the case of the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala in 2016, another person was arrested. Relatives mistrust the official crime scene.

Less than six years after the brutal attack on student teachers in the southern Mexican city of Iguala, a suspected chief responsible was arrested. The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) confirmed media reports on Monday that officials from the José Ángel Casarrubias Salgado Authority, known as “El Mochomo”, have been arrested. The arrest took place on Wednesday, but was only deliberately released now, said the PGR.

Casarrubias Salgado, like three of his brothers who had previously been arrested, is considered a leading member of the mafia organization Guerreros Unidos. Together with local police officers, the criminals attacked students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college on September 26, 2014. Six people died, 43 of the young men were abducted.

To this day, no trace of them is left. The attorney general at the time, Jesús Murillo Karam, quickly committed himself to a “historical truth”, according to which the students were burned to a garbage dump. A few months after the attack, he wanted to end the investigation.

Relatives still mistrust the official version of the crime. They suspect that federal police officers and the military were also involved. An international independent group of experts also concluded that the “historical truth” was not proven. The students had hijacked buses to go to a demonstration. They may have inadvertently got in the way of a drug transport because heroin was supposed to be smuggled in one of the vehicles, according to the group of experts.

Iguala is located in the state of Guerrero, where corrupt politicians, police officers, soldiers and criminals often work hand in hand so that opium cultivation and drug transports go smoothly. The Guerreros Unidos are among the most important organizations in the region. Casarrubia’s Salgado is also under investigation in a heroin smuggling case to Chicago.

Law enforcement officers and activists hope that the arrest will also provide them with new information to clarify the case. “El Mochomo” could possibly provide information on the whereabouts of the disappeared, the human rights organization ProDH tweeted. The students’ relatives were reluctant. The arrest is important, but many members of the Guerreros Unidos have already been arrested and ultimately none have been held responsible, said their spokesman Felipe de la Cruz. 77 of the more than 140 suspects who have been arrested have been released, not a few because they were tortured. Nobody was convicted. De la Cruz demanded that the arrest warrant against the then chief of the investigative federal police, Tomás Zerón, be implemented. The official is accused of delaying the investigation and influencing evidence. Murillo Karam, who cooperated with Zerón, also had to be brought to justice.

The relatives accuse the government at the time of deliberately misguiding the “historical truth” in order to cover up the involvement of federal police officers and the military. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in 2018, has promised to do everything possible to solve the case. After taking office, he founded a truth commission. But what exactly happened and why remains unclear to this day.

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