(Reuters) – Mexican police have captured a fugitive former mayor and his wife who the government says were the probable masterminds behind the abduction of 43 student teachers feared massacred in September, officials said on Tuesday.
Police working with a local drug gang in the southwestern city of Iguala abducted the students after clashes there on the night of Sept. 26, sparking a huge manhunt and embarrassment for President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Jose Luis Abarca, who at the time was mayor of Iguala, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were captured in Mexico City, Jose Ramon Salinas, a spokesman for the federal police, said on his Twitter account. A government official said the pair were caught early on Tuesday and were being questioned by prosecutors.
The couple was arrested by federal security forces in a house in the eastern district of Iztapalapa, Mexican media reported, one of the most violent parts of the capital where they had been hiding out for several weeks.
A government official said more details would be released later on Tuesday.
The government is still searching for the students, whose disappearance shocked the country and undermined Pena Nieto’s claims that Mexico has become safer on his watch.
The Mexican government said last month that Abarca and his wife had ordered local police to stop a group of about 80 students from disrupting a political event on the night of Sept. 26.