GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Three film students who disappeared in March from the municipality of Tonala were murdered by a drug cartel who confused them with members of a rival gang, authorities in Jalisco State, western Mexico, announced on Monday.
Jalisco State Attorney General Raul Sanchez said at a press conference that they have informed the families of the three students that they were presumably murdered and that their bodies were dissolved in acid by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) which operates in the region.
The students – Javier Salomon, Daniel Diaz and Marco Avalos – from the Audiovisual Media University were last seen on March 19, when they were allegedly taken by agents who claimed to be from the State Attorney’s Office.
The head of the investigation, Lizette Torres, said two persons, identified as Omar “N” and Gerardo “N” – presumably linked to the CJNG – have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the case.
Torres said the authorities have the detainees’ statement confessing the crime, and genetic evidence of Diaz and Avalos found in blood stains and biological samples collected from two houses raided during the investigation.
The prosecutor’s office said they have identified six other subjects and arrest warrants have been issued against them.
On April 19 – one month after the three students went missing –, an operation was launched in various areas of Tonala and three containers with chemical products were found in a house.
The containers were located in different rooms, each of which was marked by blood stains, and after reviewing the items the police confirmed they contained human remains that could correspond to the three students.
Torres said that members of CJNG beat up Salomon to make him give information about rival cartel Nueva Plaza, mistaking him for a member, and decided to kill the other two students when Salomon died from his injuries.
Eighteen other genetic profiles were also found in the same place, leading the authorities to suspect other bodies had been dissolved at the house.
After the prosecution’s revelations, dozens of people dressed in black protested in front of the house of Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval with candles and placards to demand justice and peace.
Students from different universities have announced a march on Tuesday to demand justice for the three students.