Friday, November 7, 2014

Former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez Charged With Murder, Kidnapping And Organized Crime

Abarca Velázquez also charged with the 2013 homicide of rival political critic.

By H. Nelson Goodson
November 7, 2014

Mexico, D.F. - On Thursday, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, the former Mayor of Iguala was charged with multiple federal counts for murder, kidnapping and organize crime along with his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa for the September 26-27 murders of six people, including 4 students, 25 injured students and with the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students. Each suspect is facing between 90 to 190 years in prison, if convicted on all counts. 
Both Abarca Velázquez and Pineda Villa were taken into custody by Federal Police in a modest home on Tuesday in Mexico, D.F. where they had been hiding in the Tenorios neighborhood in Iztapalapa district.
Noemí Berumen Rodríguez was also taken into custody and has been charged with harboring both Abarca Velázquez and Pineda Villa who were wanted on federal warrants.
The U.S. government has announced that it is seeking indictments against Abarca Velázquez and his wife for money laundering as well.
Abarca Velázquez was transferred on Thursday to the Altiplano federal maximum prison in the municipality of Almoloya de Juárez in the state of Mexico. Pineda Villa was ordered held for 40 days pending additional charges and was transferred to a federal detention center in Mexico, D.F.
Both suspects have denied having any connection with the disappearance and murder of 43 students or having any connection with organized crime. Other suspects arrested have implicated Abarca Velázquez and his wife with the murder of six people and with ordering the deadly attack on the Ayotzinapa students on September 26.
Abarca Velázquez was paid in bribes between $2M to $3M pesos ($15K to $230K U.S.) monthly by the Guerreros Unidos, a criminal organization, which Pineda Villa's family was involved and operated. 
While being questioned by the federal prosecutor's office for organized crime, both Abarca Velázquez and Pineda Villa did not reveal the whereabouts of the missing students.
Abarca Velázquez has been also charged with the 2013 homicide of Arturo Hernández Cardona. Former Iguala Mayor Abarca Velázquez is accused of personally killing Cardona, the leader of the United Popular organization from Guerrero in late May to early June 2013, according to a notarized affidavit from Nicolás Mendoza who witnessed the cold blooded murder by Abarca Velázquez. Abarca Velázquez shot Cardona in the face and chest while saying "I'm going to have the pleasure of killing you" as Felipe Flores Velázquez, Iguala's Secretary of Public Safety watched, according to Mendoza. Félix Rafael Bandera Román and Ángel Román Ramírez were also killed. Román attemped to escape and was fatally shot and Ramírez tried to run from another location where the remaining five kidnapped victims were taken to be executed. The victims had been tortured and beaten for several days. Abarca Velázquez and Flores Velázquez were never charged for the murders in 2013 until last October. Flores Velázquez remains at large and is wanted by both the federal and the state of Guerrero.
So far, 58 suspects have been detained including 14 municipal police officers from Cocula, 22 municipal police officers from Iguala, 16 members of the Guerreros Unidos, including several of its leaders, Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado and Salomón Pineda, aka, "El Molón." Salgado ordered his men to killed the 43 students, according to some of the suspects in custody.
Cocula Mayor César Miguel Peñaloza Santana was also arrested in connection with the missing students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos school in Ayotzinapa.
Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office (PGRF) is offering $111K U.S. ($1.5M pesos) for each missing student or $4.7M U.S. ($64.5M pesos) for information leading to the whereabouts of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa.

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