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Mexico Charges Former Iguala Mayor In Missing Students Case

Mexico's office of the attorney general made two announcements of note Wednesday in regard to the case of the 43 missing students.

Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the office, said that they had obtained another arrest warrant against former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez in connection with the kidnapping of the 43 students. And he also said that Velázquez's wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, had been linked to the Guerreros Unidos organized crime group.

If you remember, authorities have said they believe local police arrested the 43 students, turned them over to members of Guerreros Unidos, who then allegedly killed the students and set their bodies on fire.

Reuters, and local media, reports that for what appears to be the first time, officials also brought charges against Velázquez in connection to the case of the missing students.

"Abarca was already facing charges of links to organized crime as well as kidnapping and murder charges related to other cases besides the students," Reuters reports.

As news of the missing students spread last fall, Abarca fled. Police issued arrest warrants and captured him in November of last year.

During the press conference, Zeron said that investigators had exhausted every lead in the case, interrogating 385 people including 36 members of the military.

So far, he said, 97 people have been arrested in connection to the case and they have issued 221 arrest warrants.

Zeron said they have come to the conclusion that the country's military and its federal government were not involved in the crime.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.