Thursday, October 23, 2014

México: Update--New Details on Six Iguala Homicides, Disappearance of 43 Students

According to The Latin American Tribunethe mayor of the southern Mexican city of Iguala and his wife were behind the September 26 attacks on trainee teachers that left six people dead and 43 students missing, the federal Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday (October 22).

Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said at a press conference that Mayor José Luís Abarca, ordered police to attack the students to prevent them from disrupting an event that night in which his wife, head of the local family services office, was to give a speech.

His remarks to the press came on a day in which thousands of students, teachers and civil society members marched Wednesday in numerous cities across México to demand that authorities get to the bottom of the case of the missing students.

One of the largest marches ever took place in the city of Iguala, a city in Guerrero state.

After last Friday’s arrest of the leader of the Guerreros Unidos cartel, Sidronio Casarrubias, authorities learned that the Iguala mayor’s office was completely infiltrated by organized crime and received between 2-3 million pesos (between $148,000-$222,000) a month from that drug mob.

De los Angeles Pineda, a relative of two cartel operators, was in charge of distributing that money with the complicity of her husband, who was removed from office on October 17 by the Guerrero state legislature, and of the city’s police chief, Felipe Flores, Murillo said, adding that arrest warrants have been issued for all three.

Local police also were completely controlled by organized crime, with a least 600,000 pesos (some $44,500) being spent monthly to pay corrupt cops and the cartel in charge of selecting new entrants to the force.

Murillo also said that a total of 30 bodies have been found in nine clandestine graves, two more than initially indicated.

Initial DNA tests have revealed that the remains do not correspond to the missing youths, but the results of further tests based on samples taken by an Argentine team are still pending.

On the night of September 26, in which 25 people also were wounded, Murillo said the first attack targeted one of four buses in which the students were riding and left one young person dead, but the vehicle sped off.

Police pursued the vehicle and, amid the confusion, attacked another bus carrying members of a soccer team.

The police subsequently continued their pursuit and caught up to the first vehicle. They forced the students--trainees at the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, a teachers college in Guerrero state--to exit and took them in patrol cars to the police station in Iguala, where they were “abducted” by police from the neighboring town of Cocula who had come to support the operation, the attorney general said.

COMMENT: Such misconduct is only possible in today's México. 

The Cocula officers took the students to a hill located in Pueblo Viejo, an area controlled by a Guerreros Unidos lieutenant named “Gil,” where the clandestine graves have been found.

“Gil” informed Casarrubias of the violent incidents but portrayed the students as members of a rival gang, prompting the gang’s leader to give the go-ahead for “actions for the defense of their territory in Iguala,” the attorney general said.

“Gil” and two other members of the cartel suspected of carrying out Casarrubias’ orders, all of whom have been identified, remain fugitives and their “arrest is crucial for the investigation and for locating the students,” Murillo said.

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