US authorities handed over a key suspect in the kidnapping and murder of 43 college students in 2014 to their Mexican counterparts after he attempted to cross the border without proper documentation.
Mexico’s National Institute of Migration identified the man only by his first name, but a federal agent later confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that he was Alejandro Teniscalco. The institute said he had failed to obtain asylum in the United States.
Teniscalco, a former Mexican police officer, was caught trying to cross the border on December 20.
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He was superintendent of police in Iguala, a city in the state of Guerrero where the municipal police took students from the Rural Teachers College. The Mexican authorities indicated that the corrupt police handed the students over to a drug cartel who killed them and burned their bodies.
Alejandro Encinas, head of the government’s truth commission, called Teniscalco “one of the main perpetrators of the crime”.
He faces charges of kidnapping and organized crime. The Mexican government had offered $500,000 for his arrest.
The murder of the students sparked international outrage and became an example of the rampant violence by brazen and corrupt drug cartels across Mexico.
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Investigations resulted in the arrest of three soldiers, including a retired major general who was commanding the army in the area when the kidnappings took place. Also, then-Federal Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam was accused of inventing the government’s original narrative based on torture and tampering with evidence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.