A former Mexican mayor and his wife accused of ordering the kidnapping of 43 missing college students were detained today in the nation’s capital, according to a spokesman for the federal police.
Jose Luis Abarca, who was mayor in the town of Iguala when the students disappeared in September, was apprehended in Mexico City by federal officers along with his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, Jose Ramon Salinas said on his Twitter account. Both Abarca and Pineda are suspects in the disappearances, Attorney General Jesus Murillo said last month.
The detentions mark a milestone in a case that has sparked protests by tens of thousands, pushing President Enrique Pena Nieto to vow to bring the perpetrators to justice. Federal authorities investigating the disappearances say the students were handed over by local police to a drug gang in Iguala after they tried to disrupt a public event held by Pineda.
Timeline: Iguala disappearance
26 Sept: Students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa travel to Iguala to protest and raise funds
Night of 26 Sept: Police stop the students, 6 people are shot dead, 43 students disappear
30 Sept: Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca asks for leave from his post, which is granted
4 Oct: Mass graves are found near Iguala containing 28 bodies
19 Oct: Federal police are deployed to Iguala and replace the municipal force
22 Oct: Mexico’s prosecutor general says an arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Abarca, his wife and the town’s police chief
23 Oct: Guerrero state governor Angel Aguirre resigns
29 Oct: President Enrique Pena Nieto meets the relatives of the missing students and promises a “renewed search plan”
4 Nov: Mr Abarca and his wife are arrested in Mexico City