Grantee uncovers links among the disappearance of 43 students, a drug cartel and the Mexican government; DoJ files new court papers in case after reporting

Oscar Lopez and Frank Main, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, conducted a months-long investigation on the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel and its operation in Chicago, unraveling how heroin trafficking on commercial buses was an integral part of one of the most horrific crimes in modern Mexican history: The disappearance and presumed massacre of 43 students in 2014 in Iguala. The reporters showed that the Mexican government has spent nearly a decade trying to obscure the connection between the massacre and the drug cartel in order to hide its own complicity in the drug trade. A grant from the Fund supported a central part of the investigation: Weeks of on-the-ground reporting in Chicago, including visiting cartel members at their homes and digging into court records and archives in the Chicago area. Weeks after the story was published, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a new memo outlining its case against one of the main cartel leaders who was the focus of the story.