MEXICO CITY (HPD) — Former Secretary of Public Security for the southern state of Guerrero, Leonardo Octavio Vázquez Pérez, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, the government said Sunday.
The announcement comes after the controversy that arose after the special prosecutor of the process resigned due to discrepancies with the authorities in handling the case, the cancellation of some arrest warrants for those allegedly involved, and the leak to the press of the report of a commission governmental.
Vázquez Pérez, who is considered a key player in the case, was arrested last Thursday in the city of Tepic, capital of the state of Nayarit, according to the National Detention Registry.
The General Coordinator of Social Communication of the Presidency, Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, confirmed the arrest and affirmed that progress is being made in the investigations, and arresting the officials involved in the disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa normal school that occurred between 26 and September 27, 2014 in the town of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero.
“We are committed to truth, justice and reparation of damage. There will be no impunity,” Ramírez Cuevas said on his Twitter account.
Local media indicated that Vázquez Pérez will be key in the investigation for his alleged relations with the Guerreros Unidos criminal group, which is involved in the case of the disappeared youths.
Rodolfo Nava Ortiz, a former police officer from the municipality of Huitzuco, was arrested on Thursday and some local media related him to the case.
In the last two months, four people have been arrested, including three soldiers, for their alleged involvement in the case.
One of the most important arrests was that of former prosecutor Jesús Murillo Karam, who in August was linked to trial for the crimes of forced disappearance, torture and against the administration of justice.
Retired General José Rodríguez Pérez, who was the commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion of Iguala, was also arrested in mid-September and faces charges of organized crime. Rodríguez Pérez was mentioned by the Undersecretary of the Interior and President of the Truth Commission, Alejandro Encinas, as the alleged person responsible for the disappearance of six of the 43 students.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador came out last week in defense of Encinas after the publication of a report that questioned part of the evidence that was used in the report that the Truth Commission presented in August.
López Obrador affirmed that the Special Investigation Unit of the case in the Attorney General’s Office tried to affect the investigation, and that those responsible were added without taking into account the report of the government commission.
The special prosecutor in the case, Omar Gómez Trejo, resigned in September after it became known that 21 of the 83 arrest warrants issued a month earlier had been cancelled, at the request of the Attorney General’s Office. Among those who benefited from the withdrawal of the arrest warrants were 16 soldiers and former officials.
Local media pointed out that the process followed by the Attorney General’s Office for the arrest of Murillo Karam, which was carried out without consulting Gómez Trejo, was another of the events that led the prosecutor to resign.
In August, the Truth Commission, led by Encinas, presented a new report with indications of those allegedly involved both in the disappearance of the students — including some soldiers — and in the cover-up of the events, in which high-ranking officials of the government of former President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018).