A graduation ceremony last Friday at a teacher training college in Guerrero was sponsored by a cartel leader who is a fugitive from justice.
The graduating class of 25 students at the Tierra Caliente Teachers’ College in Arcelia, Guerrero, chose Johnny “El Mojarro” Hurtado Olascoaga, the leader of the Familia Michoacana cartel, to sponsor their graduation.
Images of the ceremony uploaded to Twitter by the local government show the drug trafficker’s name printed on a poster. He did not attend the ceremony.
Arcelia is known to be a stronghold of the Familia cartel.
The Education Secretariat of Guerrero (SEG) released a statement distancing itself from Hurtado’s sponsorship of the class.
“The Education Secretariat of Guerrero has nothing to do with the designations of class sponsors, which are made by the graduating students,” the statement read.
“The decision is the responsibility of graduation committees, in which SEG personnel do not participate.”
However, SEG official Praxedis Mojica Molina was present at the ceremony, and Arcelia Mayor Adolfo Torales Catalán also attended and spoke positively of Hurtado.
“Today, we reaffirm our friendship and respect, and we ask for continued support to live in an environment of peace, harmony and coexistence,” said the mayor.
“Our greetings go to Johnny Hurtado Olascaoga, and we recognize him for having agreed to sponsor the 2015-2019 graduating class.”
Hurtado has been wanted by federal authorities since 2012. In 2016, the Attorney General’s Office offered an award of 3 million pesos (US $158,000) for information leading to his capture.
He is wanted for at least 10 crimes, and Interpol has also circulated a red notice against him.