EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Mexican judge has ordered four detention center employees and a migrant to stand trial in connection to a March 27 fire that killed 40 men.
The guards and National Migration Institute employees will stand trial on the charge of omission of duties leading to injury and death, while the Venezuelan migrant who allegedly set the fire is to stand trial for injuries and homicide, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said in a statement late Tuesday.
The suspects remain in federal custody and have only been identified as Daniel N., Rodolfo N., and Gloria N. — all INM officers — private security guard Alan N., and Jaison N., a Venezuelan national.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office (FGR) said the investigation will continue and other public servants and private citizens could also face charges. “FGR will continue to determine criminal liability among public servants from the National Migration Institute and individuals associated with a private security (company),” the statement said.
The president of Mexico said migrants set fire to a mattress inside the detention center — which he referred to as a shelter — in protest over rumors they would be repatriated to their home countries. A leaked video shows a migrant trying to kick open a cell door as smoke begins to engulf the area. A Juarez lawyer who said he provided legal advice to INM and private security guards fearful of being made scapegoats for the tragedy told Border Report that a regional supervisor told them not to open the cell door when the protest began
The trial, which will be decided by the judge, not a jury, is expected to last six months.