Mexico: arrest orders issued for Ayotzinapa investigators

A Mexican judge on March 18 issued an arrest warrant for Tomas Zerón, the former head of criminal investigations for the Prosecutor General's Office, and five other former officials for alleged violations in the investigation of the case of 43 college students who disappeared in 2014. The students from the rural teacher's college at Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state, were determined to have been seized by police in September of that year. Although DNA testing only successfully identified one missing student from unearthed remains, officials presumed in 2015 that all 43 were dead. Many of the suspects arrested in the case were later released, and several claimed they had been tortured by police or the military.  The investigation was widely criticized, and the current administration pledged to re-open the case.

Zerón and five other former officials face charges that include torture, forced disappearance, and judicial misconduct. Three of the officials have been arrested, while Zerón and two others remain at large. Interpol was notified, in the event that Zerón is outside of Mexico. There were some indications that he may have left for Canada in 2019.

From Jurist, March 20. Used with permission.

See our last posts on the Ayotzinapa case and the human rights crisis in Mexico.

Remains of a third Ayotzinapa student found

Almost six years after 43 teaching students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico's federal government announced July 8 that the remains of one more had been identified. Forensic scientists at Austria's University of Innsbruck determined that a bone fragment found in a ravine in Cocula, Guerrero, was the remains of Christian Alfonso Rodríguez.

Omar Gómez Trejo, the special prosecutor in charge of the reexamination of the case, noted that the bone fragment was not found in the Cocula municipal dump or the nearby Rio San Juan, and therefore the former government's official version of what happened to the students on September 26, 2014 "is over."

Rodríguez, who was 21 at the time of his disappearance, is the third of the 43 students to be identified through DNA analysis of discovered remains. The other two were Alexander Mora Venancio and Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz. However, Guerreo's family refused to accept the accept the scientists' findings. (Mexico News Daily)

Figure linked to Ayotzinapa case stands trial on narco charges

A suspected gang leader allegedly involved in the abduction and presumed murder of 43 teaching students in Guerrero in 2014 has been ordered to stand trial on organized crime charges not related to the students’ disappearance. A federal judge on Sept. 24 ruled that José Ángel "El Mochomo" Cassarrubias Salgado, presumed leader of the Guerreros Unidos gang, and his lawyer, Arturo Rodríguez García, must go on trial on drug trafficking charges. (Mexico News Daily)

Arrest warrants for military figures in Ayotzinapa case

Mexican authorities have issued dozens of arrest warrants for police and soldiers whom they believe may have participated in the 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican college students. Omar Gomez, head of the special prosecutor's office for the case, told a new conference in Mexico City the warrants had been issued for the "material and intellectual authors" of the crime, including military members, and federal and municipal police. The announcement came on the sixth anniversary of the mass abduction. (Reuters)

Mexico arrests ex-prosecutor general in Ayotzinapa case

Mexican authorities arrested the country's former prosecutor general Jesús Murillo Karam on Aug. 19, on charges of torture and forced disappearance in the mass kidnapping of 43 students in 2014 

The arrest stunned Mexicans, coming after eight years of slow-moving investigations and what investigators have called a coverup under the previous president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The day before the arrest, Alejandro Encinas, head of the new Ayotzinapa Truth Commission labeled the disappearances a "crime of state" that involved police, the armed forces and civilian officials, as well as a drug gang based in Guerrero state.

Scores of people have been arrested in the case, including police and alleged gang members, with many subsequently released because of a lack of evidence or signs that they were tortured. But Murillo Karam was the highest-ranking former official to be charged. (WaPo, TeleSur)

Ex-general arrested in Ayotzinapa case

A retired army general accused of ordering the murder of six of the 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero in 2014 has been arrested by Mexican federal authorities. José Rodríguez Pérez at that time commanded the 27th infantry battalion in Iguala. (Mexico News Daily, Milenio)

Ayotzinapa prosecutor resigns

The special prosecutor leading the investigation into the abduction and disappearances of 43 students in southern Mexico in 2014 has resigned, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sept. 27. The resignation of Omar Gómez Trejo came one day after the families of the missing students marched in Mexico City on the eighth anniversary of their disappearances. (Mexico Daily Post, El Universal)