Federal authorities in Mexico have captured a high-ranking drug cartel member who they implicate in the disappearance of 43 college students in the southern state of Guerrero last year.

The Attorney General's Office did not immediately offer comment or confirmation, but Guerrero state chief prosecutor Miguel Angel Godinez Munoz confirmed the capture of Gildardo Lopez Astudillo in a statement Thursday.

In November, then Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said it was Lopez Astudillo who informed his boss Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado that their rivals were causing trouble in Iguala. Casarrubias allegedly then instructed him to defend their turf.

The government's investigation maintains that local police in Iguala illegally detained the students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa on Sept. 26, 2014, and turned them over to the Guerreros Unidos gang.