Corruption · Crime and Violence · Transparency & accountability

Extrajudicial Killing of Students From 13 Years Ago Finally Gets a Sentence

11/16/2023 (written by tfaris) – Two students at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey) Javier Francisco Arredondo Verdugo and Jorge Antonio Mercado Alonso were killed 13 years ago on the campus in Monterrey, Nuevo León by members of the Mexican Army who mistook them for drug cartel hitmen they were pursuing. Initial reports alleged that the two students were caught in the crossfire of the Army’s pursuit outside university property and the bullets that killed the students were from the hitmen being pursued.

Source: El Pais

However, it was later discovered that the Army manipulated the crime scene and prevented Nuevo León state prosecutors from accessing the site in order to support the theory that Javier and Jorge were merely caught in the crossfire. The manipulation included arranging the bodies and placing weapons in their hands to make it more believable that the students would have been mistaken for hitmen. Additionally, the two young men were killed on university property, inside the Tec auditorium, not outside university property as the Army initially claimed.

5 members of the Army who are implicated in this crime were charged October 13, 2023. They each received a sentence of 90 years in jail for the murders of Jorge and Javier. However, the Army members are yet to receive sentences for the additional charges of identity theft, abuse of authority, and excess of force. Cuauhtémoc Antúnez, the Army general who was leading the operative of soldiers that night in Monterrey, received a promotion to Secretary of Public Security in 2015 for then-governor of Nuevo León, Jaime Rodríguez. This promotion occurred during the time that the families of Jorge and Javier were still seeking justice in their case.

Jorge and Javier, 23 and 24 at the time of their murder, were engineering students at the Tec de Monterrey. Their killing, and the 13 year wait for justice, has garnered frustration and anger from Mexican citizens all over the country. Advocacy groups such as “Todxs Somos Jorge y Javier,” and “13 Años Sin Sentencias” have been calling for justice in this case for years.

Mexican Government 2019 Apology

In March of 2019, the Mexican government released a public apology to the students’ families. This was a significant event in the path to justice for Jorge and Javier because it was the first time that the Mexican state recognized the participation of the Army in the murders, as well as the manipulation of the facts and concealment of evidence (BBC Mundo). Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior, stated, “On behalf of the Mexican State, I extend a public apology for the infringement of your rights within the context of the excessive use of force that tragically led to the loss of your children’s lives.” [author’s own translation]. 

According to the Nuevo León News, three of the sentenced soldiers are in a military jail, and the other two are in a prison in Nuevo León. Rosy Mercado, the mother of Jorge, feels that this sentence means that justice has finally been served. In response to the sentencing, Mercado said, “When they gave the news that they were imprisoned, personally, this meant a lot to me. When I heard 90 years, the truth is that I first thought of the families of the soldiers, but I also thought that when these men killed Jorge and Javier, they did not think of the families of these boys” [author’s own translation]. The parents of Javier both passed before the sentencing. 


Rosete, Erika. “Sentenciados cinco militares a 90 años de prisión por el asesinato de Jorge y Javier, estudiantes del Tec de Monterrey.” El País. October 17, 2023.

Ferri, Pablo. “Silencio del Ejército en la disculpo del Estado mexicano por el asesinato de dos estudiantes a manos de militares.” El País. March 19, 2019.

El Financiero. “Justicia para Jorge y Javier: Tec de Monterrey celebra sentencia a militares que mataron a estudiantes.” El Financiero. October 18, 2023.

Galván, Melissa. “#TodosSomosJorgeYJavier: La lucha de 9 años por limpiar el nombre de 2 jóvenes.” Expansión Política. March 19, 2019.

BBC News Mundo. “Asesinato de Javier Arredondo y Jorge Mercado: cómo fue el caso de los estudiantes del Tecnológico de Monterrey por el que México pidió disculpas.” BBC News Mundo. March 19, 2019.

Medrano, Judith. “Sentencian a los militares que asesinaron a estudiantes del Tec de Monterrey.” MVS Noticias Nuevo León. October 17, 2023.

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