Captain José Martínez Crespo is the first military officer arrested to be linked to the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa. However, his detention is only for the crime of «organized crime for the purpose of committing crimes against health». That is, he is accused of ties to drug trafficking, in particular with Guerreros Unidos, but so far there is no firm accusation of his involvement in the events of Iguala on September 26, 2014.
A day after his arrest was known in criminal case 5/2020, a number of unknowns emerge that have to do with both the way he produced his capture and the future that holds him. His presence on the night the normalists disappeared is proven, sources close to the investigation say. The Second Court of Federal Criminal Proceedings with residence in Toluca, State of Mexico, has until Wednesday to issue an order and keep it in prison.
For now, the indictment focuses on its possible relationship with the United Warriors group. Sources close to the investigation consulted by Animal Politics claim that the Prosecutor’s Office has evidence to accuse it of participating in the disappearance of the 43 students on three levels. On the one hand, for his presence on the night of the events in Iguala at the head of a group of 20 military intelligence elements that hid the data they collected. On the other hand, because of his «close relationship» with Guerreros Unidos. It ensures this source that the Prosecutor’s Office has calls, messages and even suspects that it charged a payroll of the criminal group. Finally, his name appeared in a narcomanta placed on October 30, 2014, just over a month after the disappearance of normalists, pointing to him for his alleged association with criminal groups.
Find out: For the first time, a military man is arrested for the disappearance of Ayotzinapa’s 43 students
Although it was initially announced that the arrest had taken place, the truth is that Captain Crespo gave himself to the authorities. He did so in the military prison attached to the 1st Military Region located at Military Camp No. 1-A in Mexico City. After his arrest, he welcomed his right not to testify and called for an extension of the time limit for the car to be made public. This deadline expires on Wednesday. The magazine Proceso interviewed his lawyer, Conrado López Hernández, who assured that the military had given himself only to answer for the crime of «organized crime for the purpose of committing crimes against health» and that there is no evidence linking him to the disappearance of the 43 normalists. It further claims that the delivery was negotiated by the 1987-1991 Antiquity Foundation of the Heroic Military College, a civil institution to which graduates of the Castrense school belong, of which Crespo was a student.
Captain Crespo, who was currently retired, belonged to the 27th Infantry Battalion stationed in Iguala and appears in various testimonies as one of the military deployed in Iguala on the night normalists disappear. In particular, it is known that he was present at the Cristina Hospital, in the northern suburb, in the Palace of Justice and in Barandilla Municipal, where he came to ask for a scooter.
At the moment the accusation is limited to its link to organized crime. The arrest, however, is part of the Ayotzinapa investigation. Crespo is the first military officer arrested after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on September 26 that arrest warrants had been issued against Castrene elements.
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The Miguel Agustín Pro Human Rights Center, which accompanies the families of the 43 normalists, stated that «the arrest of an element of the Army for alleged links to organized crime in the context of the Ayotzinapa case is a very relevant development». In addition, he argued that «if prison is issued and a law-based process is initiated, the prosecution can help the state – and not just municipal – authorities involved in the criminal network related to disappearance begin to be held accountable.»
In the same line, Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer for the families, considered that «the prosecution must work here to achieve formal prison order.» Faced with the possibility that the military had turned himself in as a process to be immediately released, Rosales considered that «it would be very regrettable».
It has been more than six years since the disappearance of the 43 students and for the first time the military is targeted as allegedly responsible, together with members of Guerreros Unidos and municipal and federal police. The government of López Obrador was a priority to know the whereabouts of the students. So far the executive claims to have dismissed the so-called «historical truth» promoted by the then holder of the Attorney General’s Office, Jesús Murillo Karam. He does this by relying on the discovery of a remainder of the normalist Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre, who appeared 800 meters from the dumpster of Cocula, the place where the students would have been burned and buried according to the official version promoted by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto.
What The government of López Obrador has not achieved so far is to establish a new narrative that explains what happened to the students. In fact, the new research volumes have been classified as reserved.
Researchers and family representatives say collaboration from people involved in the facts is key to progress. «Break the pact of silence, » defined him Amlo. Captain Crespo may have vital information to find out what happened that night.
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