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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Police Re-arrest 'El Pato', Witness Linked To The Disappearance Of 43 Normalistas

Update 9/8/2021 6:00AM CST: Milenio now reports that El Pato was released from custody again. This is because possession of a firearm does not qualify him to held in preventative detention until charges are formalized. Please see update source here.

The following is a translation of a Milenio newspaper article written by journalist Alejandro Dominguez

After almost three years on the loose, Patricio Reyes Landa, "El Pato", one of the main suspects in the disappearance of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa, returned to the hands of the authorities. This weekend he was arrested, judicial sources confirmed to MILENIO. 

Although the reasons for his re-arrest have not been disclosed, it is assured that it has nothing to do with the case of the students of the "Raúl Isidro Burgos" Normal School, in which in 2014 he admitted to having participated, although the charges against him were dismissed upon confirmation of violations to due process and a lack of evidence of his participation in the criminal organization Guerreros Unidos.

Patricio Reyes Landa was arrested on October 26, 2014 along with Jonathan Osorio Cortez, “El Jona”, and Dario Morales Sanchez, “El Comisario”, alleged members of the criminal group that kidnapped and disappeared the students between September 26 and 27, 2014.

In his first statement, given two days later, on October 28, 2014, he denied any connection to the events. However, in the extension of his statement, provided on November 3 of that year, he admitted that he knew what had happened. And he provided elements of the narrative of the so-called "historical truth" that the students were kidnapped, taken to the Cocula landfill, killed, incinerated and their remains dumped in the San Juan River.

El Pato even admitted to having transported and killed some of the students. He said that in the van in which he arrived at the Cocula dump site, a white Nissan Estaquitas was carrying four students, one of them dead. He got them out of the truck, shot them, after his boss in the organization, Felipe Rodriguez Salgado, El Cepillo, scolded him for not having killed them earlier.

El Pato said he did not see how or who got rid of the students because he went to watch and collect dry firewood because it was raining. 

He said that he saw how they disposed of the remains of the youths and that he saw how some of his colleagues in the organization finished filling two black plastic bags with ashes, but he said he did not know if they took them to the San Juan River because he went somewhere else. 

On November 7, 2014, the then Attorney General of the Republic, Jesus Murillo Karam, reported that three of those involved in the case had been arrested and declared to have murdered the Ayotzinapa normalistas: "The three captured are members of the Guerreros Unidos criminal organization and, in giving their statement, confessed to having received and executed the group that handed over the municipal police of Iguala and Cocula," said Murillo Karam that day. 

Days later, on November 14, 2014, El Pato made another extension to his statement, where he was only asked to identify in photographs “El Cepillo” or “El Terco”, Felipe Rodríguez Salgado, who was his boss. 

After being imprisoned for four years and having contributed elements to the configuration of the PGR's narrative about what had happened to the students, El Pato was released on October 26, 2018, when he left federal prison number 4 in Tepic, Nayarit, along with three other detainees: Jonathan Osorio, El Jona; Agustín García Reyes, El Chereje; and Salvador Reza Jacobo, Lucas. 

According to the judicial arguments that have led to the release of the various suspects in the case, before the First District Court for Criminal Proceedings in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, it was proven that their presentation before the ministerial authority was forced, their detention was illegal and their detention before being presented was prolonged. Among the elements that justify this interpretation is the fact that the detention took place in Apatlaco, Guerrero, and from there they were transferred to the offices of the Subprocuraduría Especializada en Investigación de Delincuencia Organizada (Seido) in Mexico City, where they arrived 6 hours and 40 minutes later, which represented almost double the 3 hours and 40 minutes they should have been on the way. 

El Pato, Between Mistreatment and a New Interrogation 

It was also proven that El Pato accumulated injuries in the medical examinations he underwent during his detention. Therefore, his statements have been dismissed because it was considered that he was subjected to some act of torture or mistreatment while he was detained. In summary, the judicial resolution in his favor, with which he was freed from the charges of organized crime and kidnapping, considered that there was a poor investigation by the authorities and violations of due process, according to existing evidence that the statements supporting the case were taken through torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In addition, the detainees were not immediately brought before a competent authority. In prison, El Pato's collaboration in the case lost momentum as the months passed. 

On April 7, 2015, visitors from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) went to interview him at the federal prison in Tepic, Nayarit.  In the interview, obtained by MILENIO through transparency requests, it is detailed that he was asked if he wanted to talk about the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, asking him to specify who participated in depriving them of their lives, who delivered them, who received them, in what they were transferred, to what place they were taken, where they were deprived of their lives and what was related to their incineration. 

They also asked him if he knew if they had been interrogated, who interrogated them, which students he interrogated and what the normalistas responded to the interrogation. They asked him to detail if any of the students were taken to the place where they were taken lifeless, if he knew where and how they were killed, who was killed and who was responsible.  

They also asked him to specify how many students were killed and how many were incinerated, who ordered the incineration of the bodies, who was incinerated, who participated in the incineration, who was in charge of the incineration and how long the incineration lasted. As well as what material or materials they used for the incineration, who collected the ashes, how they collected them, who moved them, how, who and where they disposed of them, and if the ashes were collected in their entirety. They also asked him to say who ordered the collection of the ashes of the cremated bodies and if he knew who gave the order for them to be thrown into the San Juan River. 

Finally, he was given an album with photographs of the students, of public servants and of various people identified as probably responsible so that he could recognize those involved in the case. However, the document states that El Pato "said he had no information in this regard, denying having participated in the events. He mentioned that on that September 26, 2014 he was with his sister from 19:00 to 22:30 hours and then he went home with his parents, that he is not part of any cartel or criminal organization and that a short-nosed Public Prosecutor of the Seido offered him money to help his family in exchange for his continued collaboration."

The CNDH document details that El Pato also "said he was unaware of the existence of criminal organizations in Iguala and Cocula, particularly the Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos". Of the people with whom he had been linked, he said that he did not know them and that he saw them for the first time "in the arraigo where they were together and chatted" and that at that time (April, 2015) they were together in a cell in a module where they have the inmates to protect them from aggressions from other inmates of the same Cefereso. 

The then detainee told the visitors that he had also been visited by the UN "to whom he also let them know that he did not participate in the events. He explained that his lawyer was the federal public defender, but that he had also "received legal advice from other inmates who are lawyers", who had suggested to him "how to conduct himself in his proceedings". He also said that he would request face-to-face and video conferences with the people who pointed him out. Of the photographs he was shown, he assured he did not know them, he only recognized the former municipal president of Iguala "for having seen him in the media". 

Sources: Alejandro Dominguez for Milenio newspaper


  1. Arrest yes, arrest no , arrest yes arrest no fken keystone cops, reminds me of whitey.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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