Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Suspect in Case of Mexico's 43 Missing Students Is Arrested, Released and Then Re-Arrested Outside the Prison

"MX" for Borderland Beat; TY to "leChef"
Jose Angel Casarrubias Salgado
Mexico's Attorney General's Office (FGR) apprehended Jose Angel Casarrubias Salgado ("El Mochomo") in Metepec, State of Mexico, last weekend. He is a high-ranking member of the Guerreros Unidos criminal group, which was involved in the infamous case where 43 students went missing in September 2014.

Casarrubias-Salgado was imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 ("Altiplano"), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico. However, hours after he was processed, another federal judge ordered his release after determining that there were not enough evidences against him for the organized crime charges the prosecution presented.

After setting foot outside of the penitentiary, he was re-arrested by police officers. His lawyers told reporters that they was not notified of the new charges. There could be a chance that he is released a second time if the charges are deemed insufficient by a judge.

Casarrubias-Salgado's release and re-arrest is a combination of corruption and sloppy police work. The Mexican government confirmed today that they have audio recordings proving that several people linked to Casarrubias-Salgado tried to bribe the judge to release him. 

It is worth mentioning that Mexican prosecutors have historically struggled to gather evidences against suspects. Prior to the adoption of Mexico's New Criminal Justice System (Nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal, NJSP) in 2016, the judicial system allowed for authorities to keep suspects under preventative arrest (known in Mexico as arraigo) for up to 80 days while the prosecution gathered more evidences and built a case to present before a judge.

Arraigos were greatly reduced after the NJSP was made official nationwide because critics stated that it could be abused and lead to arbitrary detention and human right violations. Now prosecutors need to have the cases ready even before the suspect is arrested. Any errors in the case can get the suspect walking out of prison within hours. Police investigators are still not very adjusted to this change and often hurry to put cases together. Lawyers are now looking into these things very carefully.

Guerreros Unidos was formed circa 2009 as a splinter group of the Beltran Leyva Cartel. They are based in central Mexico and in the state of Guerrero. The group has been involved in extortions and kidnappings, but they are also responsible for drug trafficking operations to the U.S. They are known for their aggressive tactics and public displays of violence, which have attracted international headlines and attention from security forces.

One of the group's founding members was Mario ("El Sapo Guapo"), brother of Casarrubias-Salgado. Other founding members included Cleotilde Toribio Renteria ("El Tilde"), former operative under Edgar Valdez Villarreal ("La Barbie"), as well as other Beltran Leyva Cartel sicarios.

Mass disappearance case
Guerreros Unidos's involvement in the 43 missing students’ case in Iguala, Guerrero, catapulted the fame of this gang to the international spotlight. According to Mexican government's version of the story, referred by Mexico's former FGR chief as the Verdad Historica (English: Historical Truth), Guerreros Unidos mistook the students for rival gangsters and killed them.
People stand under portraits of 43 college students as part of an art installation by Ai Weiwei at the Contemporary Art University Museum in Mexico City (Source: AP)
The incident started when the students hijacked several buses in the area before a protest. As they travelled back from Iguala to Ayotzinapa, where the school is based, they were intercepted by the police. Some of the surviving students claim that the bus drivers had agreed to give them a lift. After the shootout with the police, municipal police officers arrested and handed them over to Guerreros Unidos. Their bodies were then reportedly disposed in a garbage dump and burned in a large fire.

However, several independent investigations have cast doubts on the official report's findings. Independent investigators said that the investigation was "deeply flawed", starting by the fact that many of the detainees were confirmed to have been tortured to confess.

In addition, they claimed to have satellite images on the day of the students' disappearance that showed there had been no fire that night. At least two student remains have been positively identified, but critics say that they are not sure their remains were found at the rubbish dump in question or planted there by authorities.

Casarrubias-Salgado clan
As reported by Borderland Beat, Jose Angel Casarrubias Salgado ("El Mochomo") is the brother of Guerreros Unidos members Mario, Sidronio and Adan Zenen. Sidronio was arrested in October 2014. In a police confession, he signed that he was a leader of Guerreros Unidos and that his gang was involved in the missing students’ case. However, he later confessed to have been subject to torture and had his forced disappearance charges dismissed. He remains in prison for organized crime charges.
Casarrubias-Salgado brothers Sidrionio, Mario and Adan Zenen (left to right)
His brothers Mario and Adan were arrested a few months after the students went missing. Mario was found guilty of organized crime involvement and is serving a 10 year sentence. Adan was sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegal possession of firearms. But none of them are serving time for the missing students’ case. 

In 2015, federal authorities issued a MXN$1.5 million bounty for Casarrubias-Salgado's capture. According to reports from several cartel members who participated in the mass disappearance of the 43 students, Casarrubias-Salgado was one of the Guerreros Unidos members who directly ordered to have them killed.

Authorities have yet to charge Casarrubias-Salgado with forced disappearance. His recent arrest was for organized crime charges.

Recent events
FGR chief Alejandro Gertz Manero confirmed yesterday that the Mexican government had issued 46 arrest warrants to municipal officials in Guerrero who are linked to the missing students' case.

There is still an international search for Tomas Zeron de Lucio, former chief of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) who was heading the case. Investigators say he fled Mexico and may be hiding in Belize, Spain or the U.S. He is wanted on torture and force disappearance charges.


  1. Attention readers: The Mexican government is now saying that he tried to bribe officials for his release. I'll amend the article shortly since this info was not available before this was published.

  2. Why cant these clowns be original and stop copying nicknames..

  3. THANK YOU MX!! I have internet for now>>>

    1. Welcome back! I'm taking the rest of the day off and probably most of tomorrow. I'm working on two posts with "redlogarythm".

    2. well not "back" but today i have internet. some time saturday i will have full time internet.

      have a good weekend

  4. Nobody's gonna do time for the 43 crime.

  5. Perhaps "doing time" is not the ugliest castigo for the barbaric cowards. They will be looking over their shoulders many times before they die.

  6. This bum wishes he had at least 10% of the power and money the real Mochomo had

  7. Why was omar garcia harfush's phone # found in this supposed crimimal's black book?


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