Mexico arrests drug trafficker over 43 missing students from 2014

People march to mark the disappearance of the 43 students in Guerrero last year. (Twitter pic/Fernanda Familiar)

MEXICO CITY: Mexico has arrested a man linked to the suspected massacre of 43 students who went missing in 2014 in Guerrero state, a government source told AFP on Monday.

The students’ disappearance became a symbol of the gruesome violence blighting the country, as well as – many claimed – the murky links between powerful drug cartels and corrupt officials.

Angel Casarrubias “was detained last Wednesday in Mexico State”, said a federal government official, who asked to remain anonymous as the person does not have authorisation to speak on the matter.

The students had commandeered five buses to travel to a protest on the night of Sept 26, 2014, but were attacked by municipal police in the city of Iguala, Guerrero.

Prosecutors initially said the officers delivered the 43 teacher trainees to drug cartel hitmen, who killed them, incinerated their bodies and dumped the remains in a river.

However, independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have rejected the government’s conclusion, and the unsolved case remains a stain on Mexico’s reputation.

Prodh, a human rights organisation that advises relatives of the victims, said on Twitter that the arrest was “relevant” because Casarrubias, who had been on the run since 2014, “could contribute to clarification in the case”.

He is the brother of Sidronio, Mario and Adan Casarrubias, who are believed to be the leaders of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) cartel. They were captured several months after the students went missing.

The federal prosecutor’s office believes Sidronio Casarrubias was responsible for the attack.