The federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) has arrested the fourth of seven men identified as being responsible for the disappearance of 43 students at the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in 2014.
Erick Uriel Sandoval Rodríguez, 35, formerly a physical education teacher, was based in the Balsas river region of Guerrero where he was employed as a hired gun, or sicario, for the Guerreros Unidos criminal organization.
He also smuggled drugs along the Cocula-Balsas-Iguala corridor, and had been singled out as a source of violence in the area.
Considered as a priority target for federal authorities, the PGR had posted a 1.5-million-peso (US $810,000) reward for any information that would lead to Sandoval’s arrest.
He joins three other men already incarcerated in relation of the case of the 43 students: Jonathan “El Jona” Osorio Cortés, Agustín “El Chereje” García Reyes and Patricio “El Pato” Reyes.
Three others are still wanted by the PGR, which has offered rewards of 1.5 million pesos for each of them. They are José Angel “El Mochomo” Casarrubias Salgado, Miguel “El Pajarraco” Miranda Pantoja and José Ulises Bernabé García.
Federal authorities believe Sandoval was one of the last people to have contact with the missing students. At the time of their disappearance he had a direct relationship with the mayor of Iguala, who has been accused of ordering municipal police to round them up and turn them over to the Guerreros Unidos.
The gang is believed to have killed them and burned the bodies.