Guerrero gang leader Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, a key figure in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students last year in the town of Iguala, has been arrested.
The Mexican government says Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, known as “El Gil” is a leader of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel.
It alleges Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, 36, gave the orders to abduct and kill the students.
There have so far been 111 arrests over the 2014 disappearances.
The Mexican attorney-general’s office says its investigations show the Guerreros Unidos gang were handed the students by corrupt police in Iguala.
The office has said because Guerreros Unidos thought the students were members of a rival gang, they murdered them and then disposed of the bodies by burning them at a rubbish dump outside the city.
Official accounts contrast with a report issued by an international group of experts appointed by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC).
Their report earlier this month alleges that the Mexican authority’s investigations were deeply flawed, and included the disappearance of key evidence.
According to the experts, who visited the site where the Mexican authorities say the bodies were burnt, a fire fierce enough to incinerate the 43 students would have lasted over 60 hours and would have required tons of wood or rubber which would have burnt down the surrounding vegetation.
No fire was reported in the area at the time of the disappearance.
Earlier this week Austrian forensic experts announced they had identified the remains of a second victim found at the rubbish dump where the students’ bodies were allegedly burnt.
The relatives of the 43 students have demanded that the government investigates the possible involvement of high-ranking members of the military in the disappearances.
The apparent massacre of poor, rural students has posed problems for President Enrique Pena Nieto who took office in 2012 promising to stamp out drug-related violence.
Enrique Pena Nieto has been criticized for his handling of the case and accused of trying to wrap it up without a comprehensive investigation.
Correspondents say by charging “El Gil” with the disappearance of the students, the President would enable a swift end to the investigation.
International experts have disputed the government’s accounts of what happened and have said its investigation was deeply flawed.
Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo has said that suspected gang members have confessed to killing 43 students missing for six weeks.
Jesus Murillo said three alleged gang members claimed the students were handed over to them by police.
They said some were already asphyxiated and they shot the others dead, before setting fire to all the bodies.
A total of 43 students went missing after clashing with police on September 26 in the town of Iguala.
The suspects from the Guerreros Unidos drug gang were recently arrested in connection with the disappearances.
Relatives of the missing said they had been told that six bags of unidentified human remains had been found along a river near where the students vanished.
Jesus Murillo warned that it would be difficult to identify the charred remains and that authorities would continue to consider the students as missing until DNA tests confirmed the identities.
Previous searches have uncovered mass graves in the area, but initial tests suggested they did not contain the remains of the students.
Jesus Murillo showed videotaped confessions by the suspects who said they had loaded the students into dumper trucks and taken them to a landfill site in Cocula, a city near Iguala.
About 15 of the students were already dead when they arrived and the rest were shot, according to the suspects.
Jesus Murillo said the bodies were then burned with petrol, tires, firewood and plastic in an inferno that lasted for 14 hours.
A total of 43 students went missing after clashing with police on September 26 in the town of Iguala
“The fire lasted from midnight to 2PM the next day. The criminals could not handle the bodies (for three hours) due to the heat,” he said.
He said that the suspects then crushed the remains, stuffed them into bags and tossed them in a river.
Jesus Murillo showed videos of investigators combing through small pieces of burned remains that were found in black plastic bags.
The suspects said they were not sure how many students they had taken but one said there were more than 40, Jesus Murillo added.
“The high level of degradation caused by the fire in the remains we found make it very difficult to extract the DNA that will allow an identification,” he added.
However, relatives of the missing remained skeptical. The families have been highly critical of the investigation into the students’ disappearance.
The case has shocked Mexico. Thousands have staged protests over what they say is collusion between officials and organized crime, along with government inaction.
President Enrique Pena Nieto has faced widespread criticism and on November 7 he vowed to hunt down all those responsible for the “horrible crime”.
The students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, in Guerrero state, had travelled to nearby Iguala to protest against what they said were discriminatory hiring practices, and to collect funds for their college.
They went missing after clashes with the police.
Six people were also killed after police opened fire and witnesses described seeing the students being bundled into police cars.
More than 70 people have been arrested in connection with the disappearances, including the Mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, who were detained in Mexico City on November 4.
Mexican officials accused Jose Luis Abarca of ordering police to confront the students to prevent them from disrupting a public speech given by Maria de los Angeles Pineda.
The fugitive mayor of the Mexican town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing in September, has been arrested, officials announce.
Jose Luis Abarca was detained by federal police officers in the capital, Mexico City, a police spokesman said.
Mexican officials have accused Jose Luis Abarca of ordering police to confront the students on the day of their disappearance on September 26.
Eyewitnesses described seeing them being bundled into police cars.
Federal police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas confirmed the arrest of Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda on Twitter.
Mexican officials had issued an arrest warrant for Jose Luis Abarca and Maria de los Angeles Pineda after Iguala police officers said they had received an order from the mayor to intercept the students.
The officers said they had been told to stop the students from interrupting a speech given by Maria de los Angeles Pineda in Iguala on that day.
The students, from a nearby teacher training college, had travelled to Iguala to raise funds and protest.
They have not been seen since. A search has uncovered a series of mass graves in the area, but initial tests suggested they were not those of the students.
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda were detained by federal police officers in Mexico City
Since then, more bodies have been uncovered and officials have cast doubt on the accuracy of the initial tests.
More forensic tests are currently being carried out.
Jose Luis Abarca and Maria de los Angeles Pineda were arrested in a flat they had rented in Mexico City, media reports said.
They did not resist the arrest.
They have been taken for questioning. Officials hope they will be able to shed light on the whereabouts of the students.
The events of September 26 have shocked Mexicans and have led to mass protests demanding that the authorities do more to find the missing students.
The 43 were part of a larger group which had gone to Iguala to protest against what they said were discriminatory hiring practices.
The students all attended a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa with a history of left-wing activism, and their presence in Iguala raised alarm bells with the local authorities.
When the students boarded busses to return to their college, they were stopped by police – allegedly on the orders of Mayor Jose Luis Abarca.
The officers opened fire and killed three students and three people in nearby vehicles.
They stopped one busload of students trying to flee and took them to a local police station.
According to police officers detained as part of the investigation, they then handed the students over to a local drugs gang.
The gang’s leader, who has also been arrested, says he ordered the students be “made to disappear”, after having been told they belonged to a rival gang.
However, he did not specify further what happened to them.
The gang leader also accused Maria de los Angeles Pineda of being “the main operator of criminal activities in Iguala”.
The relatives of the missing students said on November 3 that “no progress” had been made in the search for the 43 and expressed their anger over the slow pace of the investigation.
The governor of the state of Guerrero, where Iguala is located, resigned last month over the disappearances.
Authorities searching for 43 Mexican students who disappeared after clashing with police in Iguala last month are investigating a suspected mass grave.
Mexico’s attorney general said the testimony of two arrested members of a drug gang had led them to the site.
He said police officers had confessed to handing the students over to the drugs gang in southern Guerrero state.
The disappearance has shocked Mexico and has sparked nationwide demonstrations.
Earlier this month, another mass grave was found, but DNA tests suggest the bodies were not those of the students.
So far, 56 people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance, among them police officers, local officials and alleged members of the drugs gang. The state governor has also resigned over the case.
The students’ disappearance has shocked Mexico and has sparked nationwide demonstrations
Arrest warrants have been issued for the mayor of the town of Iguala, where the abductions took place, his wife and the police chief, all of whom are on the run from the authorities.
The mayor, Jose Luis Abarca, allegedly ordered police to intercept the students to prevent them from interrupting a speech his wife was giving in Iguala.
Eyewitnesses say they saw the students being bundled into police cars after the police shot at buses carrying the students, killing three of them and three other people in nearby vehicles.
The latest grave site is in the town of Cocula, about10 miles from where the students last were seen.
Attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said that two of the four suspects arrested on October 27 may have provided some valuable information
He said that they had admitted to “having received a large group of people” on the night of September 26, when the 43 students were last seen.
“We have the people who carried out the abduction of these individuals,” Jesus Murillo Karam told reporters.
He said the other two suspects detained on October 27 apparently worked as lookouts for the gang. The suspects have not so far been identified.
The four men arrested are all believed to be members of the group behind the abductions, called Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors).
Multiple protests are being held in cities across Mexico against the disappearance of students in the southern town of Iguala on September 26.
The students had clashed with police during a demonstration and were last seen being bundled into police cars.
Hundreds of local vigilantes have joined the search, saying they would conduct a house-by-house search.
Meanwhile forensic tests are under way on dozens of bodies found in shallow graves near the town last week.
It is feared the bodies could be those of the students.
In Mexico City, family members led a procession, carrying photographs of the disappeared.
Demonstrations also took place in many cities, including Oaxaca, Veracruz, Morelia, and Guerrero.
Forty three missing students who vanished last month after clashing with police in the town of Iguala
A silent march was staged by the EZLN – better known as the Zapatistas indigenous rebel group – in the southern city of San Cristobal de las Casas.
The disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it have caused shock in Mexico.
The students, from a teacher college in Ayotzinapa in Guerrero State, had travelled to nearby Iguala to protest against what they perceived as discriminatory hiring practices for teachers.
After a day of protests, they wanted to make their way back to their college. Accounts of what happened next differ.
Members of the student union say they boarded three local buses, but the police says the students seized the buses.
In the hours that followed, six people were killed when armed men opened fire on the three buses and that of a local football team which they presumably mistook for one carrying students.
Three students, a footballer, the driver of one of the buses and a woman in a taxi were shot dead. Many more were injured.
Municipal police gave chase to the students, and are believed to have fired at them.
Twenty-two officers have been detained in connection with the shooting.
A student who survived the attack said he had seen police taking away his fellow students.
“We blame the state for the forced disappearance of our fellow students,” Omar Garcia told reporters in Mexico City.
Following the incident on the night of September 26, 57 students were reported missing. On September 30 it was announced that 13 of them had returned home.
One name was found to have appeared in the list of the missing twice, leaving 43 students unaccounted for.
On October 4, prosecutors announced they had found six shallow graves containing the remains of at least 28 people.
The bodies are so badly burnt they have not yet not been identified. Forensic experts said it could take days or even weeks to carry out DNA tests.
The reasons why police should have opened fire on the students and what may lie behind their disappearance remain unclear.
A number of different theories have been put forward.
The students all went to a local teacher training college with a history of left-wing activism, but it is not clear whether they were targeted for their political beliefs.
Some think that they may have angered a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos by refusing to pay extortion money.
Others believe there may be a link between the students’ disappearance and a speech given by the wife of Iguala’s mayor on the day of the clashes.
Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa was speaking to local dignitaries when the students were protesting in Iguala and some believe they may have been targeted because it was feared they could disrupt the event.
Police are searching for her husband, mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez.
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