Mexico: arrest orders issued for Ayotzinapa investigators


A Mexican judge on March 18聽issued an arrest warrant for Tomas Zer贸n, 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. 聽The investigation was widely criticized, and the current administration pledged to re-open the case.

Zer贸n and five other聽former officials face charges that include torture, forced disappearance, and judicial misconduct. Three of the officials have been arrested, while Zer贸n and two others remain at large. Interpol was notified, in the event that Zer贸n 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.

Photo: WikiMedia

  1. 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 Rodr铆guez.

    Omar G贸mez 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.”

    Rodr铆guez, 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聽refused to accept聽the accept the scientists’ findings. (Mexico News Daily)

  2. 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鈥 disappearance. A federal judge on Sept. 24 ruled that Jos茅 脕ngel “El Mochomo”聽Cassarrubias Salgado, presumed leader of the Guerreros Unidos gang, and his lawyer, Arturo Rodr铆guez Garc铆a, must go on trial on drug trafficking charges. (Mexico News Daily)

  3. 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聽office for the case, told a new conference in Mexico City the warrants had been issued for the “material and intellectual authors”聽of the crime, including military members, and federal and municipal police. The announcement came on the sixth anniversary of the mass abduction. (Reuters)

  4. Mexico arrests ex-prosecutor general in Ayotzinapa case

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

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

  5. 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 Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador announced Sept. 27. The resignation of Omar G贸mez 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)

  6. First high-level arrests in Ayotzinapa case

    Mexican authorities arrested the former head of Mexico’s anti-kidnapping unit, Gualberto Ram铆rez Guti茅rrez, on June 25 in connection to the 2014 Ayotzinapa case in which 43 students went missing. This is the first high-level arrest made by Mexico since the incident occurred. On June 27, a court in Toluca also charged eight soldiers with the crime of enforced disappearance of the students. (Jurist)

  7. Mexico: protesters break down National Palace gate

    A group of protesters broke down a door of Mexico’s National Palace on March 6 while President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador was giving a press conference. The protesters voiced opposition to the government’s lack of response to the disappearance of 43 students in 2014 in the “Ayotzinapa Case.” (Jurist)