Mexican Police Arrest Five in Death of UBC Student, Suggest Drug Cartel Connection
May 10th 2012 · 2 Comments
The woman, Ximena Osegueda, 39, was a Mexican national who had become a Canadian citizen and, according to police, was a victim of “a settling of scores” among a Mexican organized crime group.
Osegueda had lived in Montreal and Vancouver and was in Mexico doing research as part of a graduate degree in Hispanic studies at the University of British Columbia, when she disappeared on Dec. 13. In late December her brother found her body alongside her boyfriend, Alejandro Alvarado.
Oaxaca Attorney General Manuel de Jesus Lopez Lopez told a news conference Monday five people were arrested in connection with the crime, three of them women.
Police, who believe the murders are connected to organized crime, were still looking for three other suspects. Charges include homicide, theft and organized crime.
The “positive, friendly and enthusiastic” Osegueda was well-liked by students and faculty alike, said Dr. Andre Lamontagne, head of the department of French, Hispanic and Italian studies at UBC.
Lamontagne said the small graduate studies program of about 50 people were shocked when they found out in December that Osegueda — who lived part-time in Mexico and had a house there — was missing.
They held a memorial service for their former fellow-student in January and, during the ceremony, Lamontagne called Osegueda “a bright and promising scholar . . . an accomplished yoga instructor and practitioner of capoeira, a Brazilian martial-art dance.”
Osegueda earned master’s degree in Spanish at McGill University (2005), and taught undergraduate courses on Latin American history at the Universidad del Mar in Huatulco from 2006 to 2008.
While Lamontagne said all students who go abroad must be careful, he said he wanted to avoid generalizing Mexico as a dangerous place.
“In a way, she was a local because she had a house there,” he said.
Lopez Lopez said police have taken into custody Oscar (The Bear) Ibarra Geovany Diego, Nardy Antares Duran Castillo, Mitzy Daniela Castillo Cruz, Araceli Ivett Casco Estrada and Irasema Sanchez Santa Rosa.
Police are still pursuing Juan (The Smurf) Carlos Caballero Garcia, Escamilla (Tweety) Armando Mejia, and Omar (The Mole) Garcia Rosalino Sources.
Hualtulco is about 500 kilometres southeast of Mexico City.
A version of this column originally appeared in www.borderlandbeat.com.
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By Teresa Smith