US authorities handed over a key suspect in 2014 kidnapping and murder of 43 students to their Mexican counterparts after trying to cross the border without proper documents.
Mexico’s National Immigration Institute identified the man only by his first name, but a federal agent later confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that he was Alejandro Tenescalco. The institute said he failed to qualify for asylum in the United States.
Tenescalco, a former Mexican police officer, was captured trying to cross the border on December 20.
He was the police chief in Iguala, a city in State of Guerrero where students from a rural teachers’ college were taken away by municipal police. Mexican authorities suspect that corrupt police handed the students over to a drug gang, which killed them and burned their bodies.
Alejandro Encinas, head of the government’s truth commission, called Tenescalco “one of the main perpetrators” of the crime.
He faces kidnapping and organized crime charges. The Mexican government offered $500,000 for his arrest.
The killing of the students sparked international outrage and became an example of the endemic violence by brazen drug gangs and corruption in Mexico.
Investigations led to the arrests of three soldiers, including a now-retired general who was the army commander in the area when the abductions took place. Also, then-Federal Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam has been accused of fabricating the government’s original narrative based on torture and tampering with evidence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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