Mexican authorities have arrested retired General José Rodriguez on suspicion of involvement in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, an official said on Thursday, making him the highest-ranking military officer so far detained in the case.
Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia said four arrest warrants were recently issued against military officers for the notorious kidnapping of 43 students in the southwestern city of Iguala in 2014.
“At the moment, three of them have been executed and there are three detainees, including the commander of the 27th infantry battalion at the time,” Mejia told a news conference.
Rodriguez was in charge of the unit during the kidnappings, which the previous government said were carried out by corrupt local police working in collusion with a local drug gang.
After presenting a review of the case by the current government, Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas said in late August that six of the missing students had been handed over to Rodriguez alive and that he had ordered them to be killed.
Asked about the allegations against Rodríguez, Mexico’s Defense Ministry said it had no information.
The government referred to the case as a “state crime” in its report, which claimed that local, state and federal authorities, including the Army, were complicit and involved in covering up the students’ disappearance.
The army was at the time commanded by Salvador Cienfuegos, who was later at the center of a diplomatic row with the United States when he was arrested by US officials at Los Angeles airport on drug charges in 2020.
He denied any wrongdoing and the case was later dropped.
Two Mexican officials said the government has no plans to go after Cienfuegos because of the disappearances.
News of Rodriguez’s arrest comes a day after Congress voted to keep soldiers on the streets to oversee public safety until 2028, stoking concern over the amount of power President Andrés Manuel Lopez has given the army.
Source: CNN Brasil