Military patrol in Iguala, where the Ayotzinapa students disappeared last fall. Military patrol in Iguala, where the Ayotzinapa students disappeared last fall.

Ex-gang boss reveals extent of collusion

Guerreros Unidos leader's testimony alleges links to Familia Michoacana

The plot thickens in the narrative over the ties between organized crime, drug traffickers and all levels of government, as the investigation into the Iguala-Ayotzinapa case shows how deep the skullduggery ran.

Testimony given by the former leader of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, Sidronio “El Chino” Casarrubias Salgado, reveals extensive collusion between mayors in several municipalities of the southeastern state of Guerrero and the leadership of the La Familia Michoacana cartel.

According to the testimony, recorded in October last year, La Familia’s financial operator demanded municipal funds from Ignacio Valladares, former mayor of Teloloapan, for the construction of a multi-million-peso dam to irrigate his lands, which were illegally obtained from local farmers.

Santana “El Melonero” Ríos Baena’s links with the world of politics go further than that: two brothers of his friend Bernardo Lagunas Contreras hold positions in the administrations of Teloloapan and the Mexico City borough of Azcapotzalco.

Casarrubias also said Armando “El Player” Hernández Hernández controls the municipal police of the city of León, in the state of Guanajuato, in order to obtain their protection.

Hernández, according to Casarrubias, has been a member of several criminal organizations including Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel and La Familia.

The former leader of the Guerreros Unidos also accused the former Public Security Secretary of Guerrero of providing protection to Omar Cuenca Marino, leader of the Los Rojos cartel, and said to be a friend of the state official.

Leobardo Leonardo Vázquez Pérez controlled all armed security forces in the state, including the Navy and the Federal Preventive Police, while he himself was purportedly under direct orders from Cuenca.

In his statement, Casarrubias also said the state’s former Attorney General and the principal of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college, where the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala September 26 were enrolled, were controlled by Los Rojos.

According to Casarrubias, the events that took place in Iguala were triggered by the fact that at least 17 of the students were members of that gang, and the confrontation with police ensued after they attempted to arrest them.

Casarrubias said he was informed that state authorities had been bribed to remain silent about the Iguala events, and that those who had been executed, cremated and their remains thrown into the San Juan River weren’t students, but members of Los Rojos.

There are reasons to wonder about Casarrubias’ testimony. Critics of the government’s conclusions in its investigation of the Iguala case have expressed doubt about the reliability of testimony by criminal drug gang members such as Casarrubias.

And the gang he led is widely believed to have been a bitter rival of Los Rojos.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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