Monday, April 15, 2024

5 detained in connection with deadly Ciudad Juárez fire

Five people detained in connection with the deaths of 39 migrants in a fire in a Ciudad Juárez detention center have been placed in custody.  

A judge ruled that the five suspects – three immigration agents, a security guard employed by a private company, and a Venezuelan migrant accused of starting the blaze – must remain in preventive detention as they await trial. The accused face charges of homicide and causing injury.

An additional security guard suspected by authorities has not yet been detained. 

Emergency responders outside immigration detention center
According to reports, migrants set fire to mattresses after being informed they would be deported. (Photo by Juan Ortega/

The arrests came after a fire broke out late Monday at a provisional detention center run by Mexico’s National Immigration Institute (INM). The 39 men killed were migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, and Venezuela. 

The detained Venezuelan citizen, identified as Jason “N,” is accused of setting mattresses alight after he and other migrants learned they were going to be deported or moved to another INM facility. Jason “N” was not seriously injured in the fire, federal security minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez said Thursday.

A video posted to social media showed that the male migrants being held in Ciudad Juárez were left in a locked section of the detention center while the fire raged. A security guard and an INM agent appear to evacuate the building without unlocking the door to the section where the migrants were detained.

In addition to the 39 deaths, around 30 other migrants were injured in the blaze. 

The five suspects – four men and a female INM agent – are being held in a state prison in Ciudad Juárez and will face another preliminary hearing next week. 

President López Obrador asked Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero to personally attend to the case and pledged that those responsible for the tragedy won’t go unpunished. 

With reports from Milenio, El Heraldo de Juárez and Reporte Indigo.

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