Ciudad Juárez immigration center chief arrested for the deaths of 40 migrants in fire

Salvador González Guerrero was arrested Sunday by Mexican authorities. There are now seven federal officials facing charges in connection with the tragedy.

Salvador González Guerrero, the head of the National Migration Institute (INM) in Chihuahua, Mexico, was arrested on Sunday for his alleged links to the deaths of 40 migrants in the fire at the Ciudad Juárez migrant center last March.

A few days ago, González received an arrest warrant that was provisionally suspended due to his request for an injunction. However, the crime of homicide in Mexico requires "official pre-trial detention," so the protection did not take effect, and he was still arrested.

At least seven officials arrested in connection with the incident

Three other INM officials, Eduardo Apodaca Magallanes, Juan Carlos Meza Cumplido and Cecilia Rivera Tena, were previously arrested as alleged accomplices in the tragedy. All face charges for the crimes of "unlawful exercise of public service, injury and intentional homicide."

INM's national director, Francisco Garduño, and the director of Migration Control and Verification, Antonio Molina, also have arrest warrants that have not been served. Both have been summoned to appear in court on April 21.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office (FGR) accuses Garduño of engaging in criminal conduct for negligence and and failing to take proper fire precautions. He is also blamed for not complying with his obligation to "guard, protect and provide security to the people and facilities in its charge."

Seven Mexican federal officials have been implicated in the migrants' deaths. The FGR says it has identified "a pattern of conduct in which those responsible have omitted, on the part of those responsible, the security measures that were indispensable and obligatory for these cases."

Returning migrants' bodies to their countries

Chihuahua authorities reported that the process of returning the bodies of those who died to their countries concluded on Saturday, with the delivery of the death certificates to their families. The procedure was carried out between April 4 and 14.

According to Mexican authorities, 17 of the victims who died were Guatemalans, eight were Salvadorans, seven Venezuelans, six Hondurans and one Colombian citizen.