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

Saturday, May 1, 2021

New Arrest Warrant Issued Against Ex-Chief Investigator of the 43 Missing Students Case; He Is Hiding in Israel

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

The former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency of Mexico, Tomas Zerón, is hiding in Israel.

Tomas Zeron, who was the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), is wanted in connection with the case of the 43 students who went missing in 2014. This case is widely regarded as one of Mexico's most notorious human right tragedies.

Mexican prosecutors say that Zeron tortured a sicario of the Guerreros Unidos gang, Felipe Rodriguez Salgado ('El Cepillo'), who played a role in the disappearance of the 43 students. They said that Zeron tortured him into confessing a distorted version of the events which Zeron favored.

Borderland Beat reported last year that the Mexican government had close to 50 arrest warrants against municipal officials in Guerrero who are linked to the missing students' case.

Zeron, however, fled Mexico before the warrants were issued. Investigators initially spotted him in Canada, Belize, Spain, and the US, but they later discovered he fled to Israel.

Israeli media outlets stated that Zeron was seeking political asylum in Israel, citing security concerns if he returned to Mexico. This complicated the extradition efforts with Mexico, sources say.

Zeron “was trying to obtain asylum in Israel. That’s the legal strategy that they have, arguing that he is being persecuted,” Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters in January 2021.

An international media investigation called “The Cartel Project” reported last month that he had fled to Israel with help from his contacts in the country’s cyber-surveillance industry.

Felipe Rodríguez Salgado, alias "El Terco" or "El Cepillo", a gang member who was tortured to confess a distorted version of the events leading to the disapperance of the 43 students.

In addition to his torture charges, Zeron is wanted for fraud and misuse of public sources. Investigators say that during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, Zeron used two shell companies that were granted public contracts totaling MXN$10 million. These two companies were eventually banned by Mexico's Tax Administration Service (SAT).

He is also accused of misusing the AIC's budget and diverting resources to shell companies.

Mass disappearance case

According to Mexican government's version of the story, referred by the former FGR chief as the Verdad Historica (English: Historic Truth), Guerreros Unidos gang members kidnapped and killed the students in September 2014 after they mistook them for rival gangsters.

The incident started when the students hijacked several buses in the area before a protest, a tradition that had long been practiced by the school and tolerated by the bus companies. As they traveled 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. The incident quickly devolved into a chaotic night that involved law enforcement and gangsters.

After a long standoff with the police, several students were arrested and reportedly handed over to Guerreros Unidos.

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)

By dawn the next morning, 6 students were confirmed dead in Iguala, dozens more were wounded. But 43 more had vanished.

The government alleges that the students were killed and their bodies were then 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. Critics say that the remains of the first two students identified were found at the rubbish dump in question or planted there by authorities.

Sources: El Financiero; El PaisInfobaeTimes of Israel (1); (2); Borderland Beat archives


  1. Nothing goes unpublished!
    Todo se paga.

  2. No ah ningun terreno de dieonde'el diablo no le llega. Mi Diablo querido trite lo para sumir nolos asta el infierno querido. Aqui con el Dios navegamos los Rios de abajo ah puro palo de mano. Apoco esta caliente? Ni lumbre veyo bien interado para meter se las asta que meh veyan la puntita salir la boca.

  3. Thats why I always laugh when I read the case was handed off to the competent authorities . What a joke !


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