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Ex cop arrested over abduction of 43 students who were turned over to cartel and massacred in 2014

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Ex cop is arrested over the abduction of 43 students who were turned over to a cartel and massacred in southern Mexico in 2014

  • Neftalí Pérez was taken into custody Friday by the Mexican authorities
  • Pérez, a former police officer in Iguala, Mexico, was is being investigated for handing over 43 students to the Guerrero Unidos Cartel in September 2014
  • The students were reportedly tortured and killed by the criminal organization
  • Mexico has only identified the remains of two of the 43 missing students

By Adry Torres For

Published: | Updated:

A former police officer has been arrested in connection with the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero, who are believed to have been massacred by a cartel.

Agents from Mexico‘s attorney general’s office said Neftalí Pérez was taken into custody Friday, after authorities executed an arrest warrant that was issued in June 2015. 

The kidnapping, which shook the world, happened when 43 male teaching students from the rural village of Ayotzinapa were detained by corrupt police on their way to a protest and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos Cartel on September 26, 2014.

They were never seen again. 

Pérez, then a member of the Immediate Response Unit of the Iguala Police, is accused of turning over the students to members to the cartel in the Guerrero municipality of Iguala.  

Forensic experts have been able to only identify two of the 43 students who were kidnapped and killed by a cartel in Mexico on September 26, 2014

The students were traveling in two buses when police officers stopped the vehicles and took them to the Iguala station house. According to court documents, the students were placed in cells while other were allowed to sit on benches. 

According to Mexican newspaper El Universal, police officer Honorio Antúnez testified that Pérez was in a courtyard with the students at the station house and that he was part of the unit which handed them over to the cartel in the Loma de Coyotes neighborhood.

The cartel is accused of killing the men and burning their bodies.

Remains have since been found of two of the missing 43 students. The first was Alexander Mora, whose family was informed that his remains were identified in December 2014.   

Christian Rodríguez was positively identified through DNA analysis of a bone fragment by the University of Innsbruck in Austria in June.

Demonstrators march along with relatives of 43 missing students in September 2019

A special unit for Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced in June that Christian Rodríguez was positively identified through DNA analysis of a bone fragment by the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Rodríguez was one of 43 students kidnapped by alleged members of the Guerreros Unidos Cartel in September 2014 

Pérez allegedly was part of a small group of cops who carried out the abductions and tipped off police department activities to the Guerrero Unidos Cartel.

He appeared on a video conference hearing before a judge Sunday and is expected to learn this week if he will be formally arraigned on the kidnapping charges or released from prison.

The abduction of the 43 students generated international outrage and left a long lasting stain on the administration of then-President Enrique Peña Nieto. 

An initial investigation determined that the Guerrero Unidos Cartel confused the students with rival gang members and that the bodies were burned next to a landfill and dumped in a river. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has in the past promised the families assistance in unearthing the truth behind the disappearance of their loved ones.


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