Guadalajara,Mexico: A suspect in the kidnapping, torture and apparent murder of five young men in Mexico has been arrested, prosecutors said Monday, in a case that prompted a rare level of outrage in a country where abductions and killings are all too common.
In August, a week after the friends aged 19 to 22 went missing in the western state of Jalisco, police found charred bones and four skulls at a property in the area.
The fury provoked by the case was in part due to the circulation of grisly photos and videos showing five men kneeling with their hands bound, and the moment one of them is attacked with a blunt object and a knife.
One clip appeared to show one friend attacking another, presumably forced to do so by their captors.
A man identified as Rogelio M. was in custody, the local prosecutor’s office said Monday.
He was “immediately” handed over to a judge of the Third Judicial District, based in the city of Lagos de Moreno where the men went missing.
The judge “in the coming days will determine his legal situation,” the statement read.
Rogelio M. is accused of various crimes linked to the disappearances, the office added.
The five men were kidnapped on August 11 while they chatted in the working-class neighborhood of San Miguel.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro previously said their disappearance was “evidently linked to organized crime.”
“We are facing irrational, violent and direct attacks on the stability of Jalisco that demand a reaction from the Mexican state,” he added.
One of the most powerful organized crime groups in Mexico, the Jalisco New Generation cartel, operates in the region and is embroiled in turf wars with rival drug syndicates.
The case has stunned residents of Lagos de Moreno, home to a thriving dairy industry, charming colonial buildings and flower-filled parks honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city has registered more than 400 missing persons since 2009.
Many are believed to have ended up in clandestine graves and crematoria, or their remains dissolved in acid.
News of the arrest comes a week after six teenagers kidnapped in the neighboring state of Zacatecas were confirmed dead.
The 14-to-18-year-olds had been abducted by an armed group after a party less than a week earlier.
Mexico has recorded more than 420,000 murders since the launch of a controversial military anti-drug offensive in 2006.
Since then, the country’s murder rate has tripled to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants.
It has registered more than 110,000 disappearances since 1962, most attributed to criminal organizations.
About 15,000 of those have happened in Jalisco, the highest number among Mexico’s 32 states.
(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)