Ayotzinapa: Video shows Tomás Zerón conducting an interrogation

Zerón fled Mexico and the Interpol is looking for him 

Ayotzinapa: Video shows Tomás Zerón conducting an interrogation
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced that Tomás Zerón is currently living in Canada - Photo: Ivan Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/07/2020 16:35 Mexico City Actualizada 16:45
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Media outlets have been sharing a video that shows Tomás Zerón, the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency, while he leads an interrogation. Zerón was Ayotzinapa’s chief investigator.

The video shows Zerón talking to a detainee who is handcuffed and whose shirt is over his head. The detained is Felipe Rodríguez Salgado aka “El Cepillo”. 

Zerón orders the criminal to tell him “everything you know about the students,” and then adds that if he lies, the torture will begin. 

The same video was shared online some time ago; however, it went viral again after the Attorney General’s Office announced Zerón fled Mexico months ago and that the Interpol issued a red notice against the former investigator. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced that Tomás Zerón is currently living in Canada and that authorities have launched an extradition process. 

Throughout the video, Zerón uses expletives and makes veiled threats to use torture. 

For years, the families’ of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students denounced irregularities in the investigation such as torture and extrajudicial proceedings. 

Recommended: Ayotzinapa: Mexican authorities confirm Tomás Zerón, the case's chief investigator, fled Mexico

Zerón’s investigation led to the so-called “historic truth” regarding the disappearance of the 43 students; however, the UN, experts, NGOs, and current authorities have raised serious questions regarding the verdict.

Last week, the special prosecutor investigating the enforced disappearance case said the 43 students weren’t incinerated in the Cocula dumpster. 

On June 19, nearly six years after the students went missing, authorities announced that the FGR launched a search operation in Cocula, Guerrero, between November 21 and November 29. 

Mexican authorities searched a place called Barranca de la Carnicería, Ejido de Cocula, not the Cocula dumpster where Peña Nieto’s administration focused its investigation. 

During the search, experts found 15 pieces of evidence. The victims’ parents and the special commission created to investigate the Ayotzinapa case were present. 

On February 26, the evidence was analyzed by experts from the Attorney General’s Office while the families’ representatives and experts from the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team were present. 
 
Six pieces of evidence were sent to the Innsbruck University, where they were analyzed. It takes between three and five months to obtain DNA results. 

On June 19, the Innsbruck University announced that after analyzing the bones found by the FGR, it found that one of them belongs to Ayotzinapa student Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre, one of the young men who went missing on September 26, 2014.

After the Austrian university released its results, the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team analyzed the remains once again, confirming they belong to Christian Alfonso.

On July 5, authorities traveled to Tixtla, Guerrero to inform the family about the DNA results. 

This is the first major finding in over five years. The statement emphasized that human remains weren’t located in the Cocula or the San Juan River.

The statement adds that more remains will be sent to the Innsbruck University. 

Recommended: Ayotzinapa: Tomás Zerón allegedly tortured the detainees

Tomás Zerón
In an interview with journalist Salvador García Soto, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said he knows where Tomás Zerón is. 

Gertz Manero said the former investigator knew he would be held accountable for how he handled the Ayotzinapa case and fled the country. 

Documents indicate the case's chief investigator witnessed and allowed suspects to be tortured to build the case. 

Tomás Zerón has been charged with torture, enforced disappearance, and offenses against the administration of justice.
 
Ayotzinapa 

On 26 September 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College were the victims of enforced disappearance in Iguala, in the state of Guerrero. The burned remains of one of them were found weeks later but the other 42 are still missing.
 
Nearly six years after 43 students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero confirmed Tomás Zerón, the case’s chief investigator, fled the country months ago. Gertz Manero added that prosecutors had requested 46 arrest warrants for municipal officials in the state in connection to the enforced disappearance case.
 
In September 2019, Zerón was accused of torturing suspects involved in the enforced disappearance of the 43 Mexican students and of manipulating evidence. 

In March 2020, EL UNIVERSAL reported Tomás Zerón fled Mexico in late 2019 and that he is allegedly living in Canada. 

The warrants are based on enforced disappearance and organized crime charges. 
 
Many of these officials were previously arrested and released after the cases against them fell apart. Gertz Manero said the new charges were never investigated or brought by prosecutors at the time.

The original investigation concluded in what the Jesús Murillo Karam, then-Attorney General, called the “historic truth” that the 43 students from the teaching college at Ayotzinapa were abducted by police in Iguala in September 2014 and handed over to drug cartel Guerreros Unidos, which killed them and burned their bodies. However, independent experts found numerous flaws in the investigation.

Since the Attorney General’s Office started the investigation under Gertz Manero, additional remains have been recovered and sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria for identification.

One central character, “El Mochomo,” an alleged founder of Guerreros Unidos who was blamed for the students’ disappearance, was arrested, released, and then arrested once again. 

Guerreros Unidos
The criminal organization is currently active and operates in Guerrero and the State of Mexico.

The Guerreros Unidos Cartel is part of the larger Beltrán Leyva Cartel. It has an important participation in the heroin trade and was involved in the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students.

The Guerreros Unidos traffics cocaine as far north as Chicago in the United States and reportedly operates primarily in the central and Pacific states of Guerrero, State of México, and Morelos.

The Guerreros Unidos, according to Mexican authorities, was responsible for taking the 43 Mexican teacher trainees, who were handed to them by local authorities in Iguala, Guerrero; the group allegedly murdered the students and burned their bodies.
 
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