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Saxophonist and acid attack victim Ríos. Saxophonist and acid attack victim Ríos.

Million-peso reward offered for culprit in acid attack on Oaxaca musician

A former PRI deputy is suspected of orchestrating the assault last September

The Oaxaca Attorney General’s Office (FGE) has offered a 1-million-peso (US $53,000) reward to anyone offering information leading to the arrest of a former public official believed to be responsible for an acid attack on a saxophone player from Huajuapan de León.

The ex-state deputy of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Juan Antonio Vera Carrizal, is suspected of having orchestrated an attack with corrosive acid against María Elena Ríos on September 29 of last year.

In addition to the reward, the FGE solicited help from federal authorities in the search for Vera and requested that Interpol issue a Red Notice in order to extend the search beyond Mexico’s borders.

Oaxaca Attorney General Rubén Vasconcelos Méndez said that arrest warrants were issued in December for Vera and two other unidentified men for the charge of attempted femicide.

He told a press conference that his office has sufficient evidence to determine that Vera ordered the attack that was carried out in Huajuapan de León. Another two men arrested in connection with the case in December told authorities last week that Vera gave them 30,000 pesos to attack the victim.

“We have sufficient data to believe that [Vera] was the author of the incident, and it’s not just us. The issuance of an arrest warrant implies that a judge considers there to be sufficient data for probable responsibility,” he said.

He added that his office believes the arrest of Vera will quickly lead to the apprehension of the other two unnamed suspects.

Vasconcelos released a wanted poster bearing a photo of the ex-legislator and businessman with his personal information and the reward offer. The poster lists his age as 56 and states that he has black hair, almond-colored eyes and weighs 80 kilograms.

The saxophonist’s family members said that they knew the culprit was Vera since the moment of the attack. Ríos has been convalescing in her family home since January 21 after being treated by burn specialists in Mexico City.

The PRI has begun the process of officially expelling Vera from the party.

Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat spoke about the case after meeting with President López Obrador in the National Palace in Mexico City on Tuesday. He announced the reward and requested the assistance of the media and the public in Vera’s capture.

He said that the FGE’s telephone lines are ready and waiting for tips from the public, adding that he hopes collaboration with citizens will lead to Vera’s arrest and “send a clear message that there is no impunity when the rights of any Mexican woman are violated.”

“The best way is to arrest these people,” he added.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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