Mexico: A Mass Murder Too Far


October 25, 2014: The government claimed that the mayor of the town Iguala (Guerrero state, about 200 kilometers south of Mexico City) was responsible for the kidnapping and probable murder of 43 students who disappeared on September 26 as they were marching from the town of Ayotzinapa toward Iguala.  Originally 57 students were missing but 13 were located on September 30. Federal prosecutors have charged Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife with homicide. The mayor’s wife is the sister of two deceased members of the Beltran-Leyva cartel.  Abarca himself is a member of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Prosecutors have also indicted the town’s public safety director.  The couple and the public safety director fled Iguala and are now in hiding. Prosecutors allege that the mayor told local police to stop the protest march. Prosecutors based the charges on interrogations of local police and members of a local criminal gang, Guerreros Unidos (The United Warriors).  Investigators believe that Guerreros Unidos has gang members who used to belong to the Beltran-Leyva cartel. Prosecutors said that so far 17 gang members and 36 Iguala police officers have been arrested. Federal investigators have concluded that police officers stopped buses carrying the students home. The students were forced into police vans, were driven to a remote location and then murdered. One source claimed the bodies were burned. At least two Guerreros Unidos gunmen have confessed to killing some of the students. Federal police have now taken control of the Iguala police department and soldiers have also deployed in the area. Legislators in Mexico City have asked that the president order federal forces to take control of the entire Guerrero state government. This can be done but is politically tricky; would entail dissolving the current state government.

October 23, 2014: The governor of Guerrero state resigned because of the backlash over revelations about the murder of 43 students in Guerrero on September 26th. The governor was not implicated but many other local politicians and officials were. The governor also belongs to the same political party of many politicians who have been arrested over the mass murder.

A government agency has concluded that soldiers killed 12 people (perhaps more) in the June 30 gun battle in the town of San Pedro Limon. The twelve victims were slain after they surrendered to the soldiers. At the moment eight soldiers have been arrested for murder. A total of 22 people were killed in the battle. Soldiers claimed that gang members began firing on them from a warehouse in the town.

October 21, 2014: Investigators reported that 28 bodies found in a mass grave near Iguala are not those of the 43 missing students. Forensic specialists used DNA tests. They are also testing bodies discovered at four other grave sites in the area.

Federal police confirmed that they have taken control of the police department in the town of Iguala (Guerrero state).  Federales have also disarmed all police officers in the town of Iguala and the town of Cocula. Prosecutors indicated that they believe police in Iguala may be involved in the disappearance of 43 student protestors. The federal police have also taken over operations in 12 other towns in Guerrero state and one town in Mexico state. The federal police allege that the local police forces are either corrupt or have been infiltrated by Guerrero Unidos, an organized criminal gang. Federal police also confirmed that they had arrested the leader of Guerreros Unidos, Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado.

Meanwhile, anti-riot police deployed in the town of Chilpancingo to protect citizens and government property after a group of protestors attacked Guerrero state government buildings in the area. They set fire to one building and destroyed a vehicle on the street. The protestors expressed anger over the disappearance of the 43 Guerrero state students on September 26. They also demanded the resignation of the governor of the state. The governor is a member of the PRD, the same party as the mayor of Iguala.

October 20, 2014: The Department of Defense announced that eight soldiers have been detained in connection with the gun battle that occurred in San Pedro Limon (Mexico state) on June 30. Seven enlisted men and one officer from the 102nd Infantry Battalion have been arrested. Local media noted that the battalion was involved in a scandal in February 2012 when it was discovered that six soldiers from the battalion (two of them officers) worked as informers for the La Familia cartel

October 17, 2014:  Police and officials in Tamaulipas state believe citizen journalist Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio was kidnapped and murdered by gunmen associated with an organized criminal gang. Rubio wrote an on-line journal and regularly denounced crime and violence in Tamaulipas. Her body was discovered October 16.  Mexican and Texas media reported that her murder is another attempt by drug cartels to silence critics.

October 12, 2014: Police reported that an initial investigation indicated that the first bodies examined in a shallow grave near the town of Iguala are not those of the missing student protestors. Further tests will be conducted. Police also reported finding more bodies in the mass grave.

October 10, 2014: Authorities in Guerrero state reported finding another mass grave near the town of Iguala.  Investigators also reported that two Guerreros Unidos gang members have confessed that they shot and killed 17 students on September 26.

October 9, 2014: Police have arrested the senior commander of the Juarez drug cartel, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. He was arrested in the city of Torreon.

October 6, 2014: The government announced that there will be no impunity for anyone implicated in the disappearance of the missing 43 Guerrero state students. Prosecutors have indicated that they believe police officers in the town of Iguala were involved in the disappearance and probable murder of the students. A state prosecutor said that federal officers have so far arrested 22 local policemen.

October 5, 2014: Police in Jalisco state announced the arrest of four men suspected of murdering Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) legislator Gabriel Gomez Michel. The victim was kidnapped on September 22. His body, his driver’s body, and his burned out car were discovered in Zacatecas state on September 23. Gomez Michel was a physician and also served as mayor of the town of El Grullo (Jalisco state).

October 4, 2014: Police in Guerrero state have found a mass grave with 20 charred bodies on the northwestern edge of the town of Iguala.  An investigator reported that federal authorities have video which shows at least eight students being forced to climb into a police van.

October 1, 2014: Authorities reported the arrest of Hector Beltran Leyva a criminal the American government has offered a reward of $5 million for. Beltran Leyva took over the leadership of the Beltran Leyva cartel in 2009 after Mexican soldiers killed his brother Arturo.

September 30, 2014: Prosecutors have charged three soldiers from the 102nd Infantry Battalion with murder. The alleged murders occurred after the June 30 gun battle in San Pedro Limon (Mexico state). At least eight members of a gang (now identified as La Familia Michoacana) were allegedly killed after they surrendered to the soldiers. More soldiers may be charged.






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