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Report Says Missing Mexican Students May Have Disrupted Drug Shipment

An investigation by a human rights group into the fate of 43 missing student teachers in Mexico challenges the government's official version of the events that led to the students' disappearance almost a year ago.

Shortly after the students went missing, Mexico's then-attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam said that they were abducted by corrupt local police working in tandem with a local drug gang, who had confused the students with a rival gang. Karam also said that the 43 students were dead, burned in a pyre near the city of Cocula.

But according to the report released Sunday by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the attack was an organized response to the students who were hijacking buses in the city of Iguala to get to a protest. The report said they may have inadvertently interrupted a drug shipment. Iguala is a hub for heroin shipped to the U.S. and buses are frequently used for transport.

According to the report, "The business that moves the city of Iguala could explain such an extreme and violent reaction and the character of the massive attack." The report adds that "the action of the perpetrators was motivated by the students acting against high-level interests."

The Mexican government's original handling of the investigation has drawn worldwide criticism and damaged the reputation of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Following the release of the report, Mexico's attorney general Arely Gómez González has called for a new probe into the incident.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marie Andrusewicz