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Mexico captures fugitive mayor and wife sought in connection with missing students

Mexico's federal police captured fugitive Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda on Tuesday in Mexico City, 120 miles from the town in Guerrero state where 43 university students were last seen clashing with local police on Sept. 26.

By
JC Finley
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda had been on the run since shortly after the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 missing college students, but were captured on Nov. 4, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico. (UPI/Shutterstock/Takamex)
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda had been on the run since shortly after the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 missing college students, but were captured on Nov. 4, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico. (UPI/Shutterstock/Takamex)

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The fugitive mayor and his wife wanted in connection with the disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico's Guerrero state have been captured.

According to federal police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas, Iguala's Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda were arrested 120 miles away, in Mexico City.

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Abarca and Pineda fled Iguala shortly after the students were last seen clashing with local police on Sept. 26. He was impeached on Oct. 17 for his ties to organized crime and an alleged role in the case of the missing students.

An arrest warrant was issued last month for the couple. Authorities believe Abarca and his wife were the "probable masterminds" in the attack on the students. According to the attorney general, the couple wanted to get rid of the students because they didn't want the students' protest to disrupt a planned political event hosted by Pineda in the town the same day.

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El Universal newspaper reported that Abarca and Pineda were renting a home in Mexico City's Iztapalapa district and may have been turned in by the owner.

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Early Tuesday morning, Federal police entered the home and captured the couple without incident.

Federal authorities have arrested 56 people, mostly local police and some members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, in connection with the students' disappearance. Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam has condemned Guerrero state for its "network of complicity" between drug cartels and police departments.

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The search for the missing students has resulted in the discovery of 19 mass graves in the vicinity of Iguala. DNA testing confirmed that 28 bodies found in one of the mass graves were not those of the missing students. DNA testing on remains found in the other graves is ongoing.

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