MEXICO CITY (AP) – The wife of a Mexican mayor whose police force turned 43 students over to a drug gang that allegedly killed them has been charged with organized crime and money laundering.
María de los Angeles Piñeda is the wife of José Luís Abarca, the former mayor of Iguala, a city in southern Guerrero state. Pieda's brothers were leading members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, according to prosecutors. Federal prosecutor Tomás Zerón said Monday that Piñeda has been charged with organized crime related to drug trafficking, and use of illicit funds.
Abarca and Piñeda were arrested Nov. 4 in Mexico City. Abarca was charged with organized crime, kidnapping and homicide in November, for events previous to the students' disappearance. Piñeda had been held under a form of house arrest, but has now been transferred to a federal prison. It is unclear if the charges against her were related to the students' disappearance.
Video footage showed a grim-faced, stolid Piñeda being escorted aboard a truck and then a plane as she was transferred to prison.
Abarca's police force allegedly worked hand-in-glove with the Guerreros Unidos gang. When students from a rural teacher's college went to Iguala to hijack buses on Sept. 26, Iguala police detained them and turned them over to the gang, which then allegedly killed them and burned their bodies. Only one of the students has been identified from charred bits of bone.