HomeNewsBriefMexico Blames Mayor, Wife in Missing Students Case
BRIEF

Mexico Blames Mayor, Wife in Missing Students Case

GUERREROS UNIDOS / 23 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in Mexico have accused the former mayor of Iguala of ordering the attack against 43 students who went missing in the state of Guerrero, another revelation regarding the depth of official collusion with organized crime in the region.

In a press conference on October 22, Mexico's Prosecutor General Jesus Murillo Karam said that Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez -- the mayor of the town of Iguala in Guerrero -- and his wife ordered the attacks on the students because they were planning to protest an event organized by the town government, reported El Universal

The investigation by Mexico's Attorney General's Office (PGR) revealed that the students were detained by police, then handed over to the Guerreros Unidos criminal group. The students were then allegedly brought to a site close to the residence of a high-ranking member of the Guerreros Unidos, known as "El Gil." So far, authorities have found nine clandestine graves near this site, containing 30 bodies that have yet to be identified, Milenio reported.

According to Karam, a captured Guerreros Unidos leader told authorities that the mayor's wife -- working alongside the town's director of public security -- was the gang's main political operator. Karam also said that the mayor's office made regular payments of between $150,000 to $225,000 to the Guerreros Unidos, in exchange for their collaboration. The gang spent some $45,000 of this cash towards paying off the local police force. 

The mayor, his wife, and the town's director of public security all remain at large.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the fate of the 43 missing students remains uncertain, what is becoming ever more clear is the extent to which organized crime has taken hold in state institutions in places like Guerrero.

It is all too common for local politicians to maintain ties with organized crime groups in Mexico -- although some aren't always willing collaborators, as implied by the high number of mayors who are killed. Nevertheless, the Iguala case illustrates how this relationship may be beneficial for both parties: while organized crime co-opts the state in order to secure protection or siphon off resources, corrupt officials rely on criminal groups to commit violence for personal or political ends. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profile

While the Iguala case has caught the public's eye due to the horrifying scale of the attack, it is far from unique. Just one month ago, a mayor in the state of Michoacan was accused of hiring assassins from criminal group the Knights Templar, in order to kill someone with whom she had a personal dispute. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 13 JUN 2013

In mid-May, the residents of La Ruana and other towns in Mexico's western state of Michoacan lined roadsides to cheer…

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 22 AUG 2011

According to a Mexican non-profit organization, the Attorney General's Office has registered 75,000 minors as missing since 2006, many of…

AYOTZINAPA / 19 FEB 2015

Mexico’s conspicuous effort to incorporate foreign forensic teams into its investigation of the Iguala mass kidnapping seems aimed at giving…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.