A man authorities say was the leader of the Los Rojos criminal organization and who has been linked to the case of 43 students kidnapped in 2014 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on organized crime charges.
Santiago “El Carrete” Mazarí Hernández, who was apprehended in August 2019 on organized crime and kidnapping charges, operated in Morelos and Guerrero, where at one point he gave orders to 15 of Morelos’ most wanted criminals. He operated mainly in Tetecala, Jojutla, Zacatepec, Amacuzac and Puente de Ixtla, according to officials.
Felipe “El Cepillo” Rodríguez Salgado, former head of the Guerreros Unidos gang — has implicated Mazarí in the case of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college students. In a recorded interrogation, Rodríguez said that one of the students told him that Mazarí had paid the teachers college director to send the 43 students to demonstrate and “cause disturbances” in Iguala, Guerrero, against then-mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez.
On September 26, 2014, 43 male students from the college disappeared in the same city.
Federal authorities’ previous version of events alleged that municipal police in Iguala attacked the students, probably because they mistook them for being affiliated with the Los Rojos, then handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos, who killed and burned them before dumping their bodies. However, that version of events has been disputed by many. Last month, a new video emerged of Rodríguez under interrogation and appeared to have been tortured.
In 2018, President López Obrador announced he was reopening the investigation into the case.
Both Los Rojos and the Guererros Unidos, groups which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cites as major traffickers of heroin, are believed to be spinoff groups of the Beltran Leyva cartel, active in Sinaloa until 2014. According to a recent DEA report, the two active groups casually cooperate with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Los Zetas cartel.
Sources: Milenio (sp)