Nearly six years after 43 students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero confirmed Tomás Zerón, the case’s chief investigator, fled the country months ago. Gertz Manero added that prosecutors had requested 46 arrest warrants for municipal officials in the state in connection to the enforced disappearance case.
In a video posted to social media, Gertz Manero said that there is an international search underway for Tomás Zerón, the former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency. An arrest warrant was obtained for Zerón in March, but he fled the country, Gertz Manero said.
In March 2020, EL UNIVERSAL reported Tomás Zerón fled Mexico in late 2019 and that he is allegedly living in Canada.
Recommended: Ayotzinapa: the timeline of a tragedy
One central character, “El Mochomo,” an alleged founder of Guerreros Unidos who was blamed for the students’ disappearance, was arrested Monday, Gertz Manero announced.
The warrants are based on enforced disappearance and organized crime charges, Gertz Manero said.
Many of these officials were previously arrested and released after the cases against them fell apart. Gertz Manero said the new charges were never investigated or brought by prosecutors at the time.
The original investigation concluded in what the Jesús Murillo Karam, then-Attorney General, called the “historic truth” that the 43 students from the teaching college at Ayotzinapa were abducted by police in Iguala in September 2014 and handed over to drug cartel Guerreros Unidos, which killed them and burned their bodies. However, independent experts found numerous flaws in the investigation.
Since the Attorney General’s Office started the investigation under Gertz Manero, additional remains have been recovered and sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria for identification.
More charges against other officials are expected later this week, Gertz Manero confirmed.
In an interview with journalist Salvador García Soto on June 30, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said he knows where Tomás Zerón is.
Gertz Manero said the former investigator knew he would be held accountable for how he handled the Ayotzinapa case and fled the country.
Documents indicate the case’s chief investigator witnessed and allowed suspects to be tortured to build the case.
Tomás Zerón has been charged with torture, enforced disappearance, and offenses against the administration of justice.
Recommended: Ayotzinapa: New evidence to be analyzed in Austria