MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Mexican police detained a fugitive ex-mayor and his wife Tuesday accused of ordering a deadly police attack that left 43 students missing, raising hopes of a break in a case bedevilling the nation.
Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of the sou-thern city of Iguala, and Maria de Los Angeles Pineda were captured by federal officers in the dead of night in Mexico City’s populous working-class district of Iztapalapa.
Officials hope the arrests will yield new clues about the whereabouts of the students in a dis-appearance that has drawn international con-demnation, sparked national protests and shaken President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration.
After more than a month on the run, the two were interrogated by federal prosecutors. Relatives of victims later entered the attorney general’s office while some 30 people protested outside.
“I hope that this arrest will contribute in a de-cisive manner… to the investigation undertaken by the attorney general’s office,” said Pena Nieto, who last week met parents angry at the pace of the probe.
The couple had been hiding in a modest con-crete house, far from their opulent life in Iguala, where Abarca owned jewellery stores and his wife allegedly ran local operations for the Guerreros Unidos drug gang.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said Abarca and his wife were captured “without a single shot fired” at 2.30 am in one of three homes that were put under secret surveillance following intelligence work.
Police also detained a woman identified as Noemi Berumen Rodriguez in another part of Iz-tapalapa over accusations that she helped them hide.