Former police official Francisco Salgado Valladares – implicated in the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 students – was captured Thursday in Cuernavaca after investigators heard would be attending a family gathering, according to the AP.
Valladares, who was the deputy chief of operations in Iguala, had been hiding out with relatives. He is suspected of kidnapping and organized crime and is believed to have ordered that 13 of the missing students be given to a drug gang, the AP reported.
Salgado allegedly received nearly $40,000 a month from the drug gang in exchange for offering the group protection, according to NBC News citing witness statements.
In January, authorities obtained an arrest warrant for former Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca and 44 others in the kidnapping of the students.
The students, who are all male, are presumed dead, though the remains of only one student have been identified. Authorities say they were likely killed by members of a drug cartel.