Mexican law enforcement has arrested a gang leader accused of orchestrating the suspected murder of 43 students in Iguala last year. Gildardo López Astudillo, nicknamed "El Gil," was taken into custody late Wednesday for his affiliation with the drug cartel Guerreros Unidos and his connection to the infamous case, El Daily Post reported.
Police found López, 36, in the city of Taxco, where they say he was carrying fake identification and illegal guns. President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted soon afterward to praise the Office of Safety. "The man identified as one of the main people responsible for the tragic events in Iguala has been arrested," he wrote in Spanish.
The 43 now-famous young men, students at a rural teachers college, disappeared Sept. 26, 2014, on their way to protest a speech by the wife of the then-mayor of the city of Iguala, who authorities say instructed corrupt local police to intercept the group. The police then allegedly gave the students to Guerreros Unidos. The gang is accused of killing them and incinerating the bodies.
López was suspected of telling the gang members that the students belonged to a rival criminal organization, inciting them to kill them, the Los Angeles Times reported. He later allegedly signed a message to investigators claiming the 43 men remained alive.
— Noticias MVS (@NoticiasMVS) September 18, 2015
López is the 111th person arrested in the case, which shocked and outraged the country, the BBC reported. The students' families and friends have refused to accept the Peña Nieto administration's investigation into the case, instead insisting that they mishandled the probe and overlooked evidence -- an assertion backed up by a recent report from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
The missing men's relatives maintain that the victims are still alive, as until this week, authorities had only been able to confirm the remains of one of them: Alexander Mora. The government announced Wednesday that they'd confirmed another DNA sample belonging to Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz.