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Federal Police arrest Iguala municipal police in 2014. Federal Police arrest Iguala municipal police in 2014.

Freed cops linked to Ayotzinapa could bankrupt Iguala

The 13 officers are seeking 1 million pesos each in unpaid salaries

Police officers released from prison after being accused of involvement in the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero in 2014 are demanding lost wages that could bankrupt the municipality of Iguala.

The municipal police are seeking 13 million pesos (US $665,000) in unpaid salaries, said Mayor Antonio Jaimes Herrera — 1 million pesos for each of the 13 officers, a figure that represents almost five years of lost wages.

According to the previous government’s “historical truth,” corrupt municipal police intercepted the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Iguala on September 26, 2014 while they were traveling on buses they had commandeered to attend a protest march in Mexico City.

The police then handed the students over to members of the Guerrero Unidos gang who killed them, burned their bodies in a municipal dump and scattered their ashes in a nearby river, according to the investigation.

Following the release this week of suspected Guerrero Unidos plaza chief Gildardo López Astudillo by a judge who ruled that much of the evidence against him was obtained illegally, human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas warned that more suspects could be freed.

Encinas said the key suspect’s acquittal set a “grave precedent” that could be used to release more than 50 other people who are in custody as a result of their alleged involvement in the students’ disappearance.

Mayor Herrera said that if more Iguala police are released and demand compensation, the municipality could go bankrupt, pointing out that it already has “historical” debt of more than 100 million pesos.

“The truth is, this represents a serious problem for us,” he said.

The mayor argued that because the officers were dismissed by the federal Attorney General’s Office (formerly the PGR, now the FGR) rather than the municipal government, the former should be responsible for settling their demands.

“. . . We’re directing the [officers’] demands to the FGR because it was that authority that took their jobs from them,” Herrera said.

Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo added his voice to the concern about the possible release of more suspects in the case.

“We can’t continue releasing all these people who participated [in the crime]. In a while, they’ll all be in the street. I believe that this is a very sensitive issue . . . [The release of suspects] has to be categorically stopped.”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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