Mexico arrests state migration leader for alleged role in deadly migrant fire

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican authorities have arrested Chihuahua state’s migration leader in connection with a fire at a migrant detention center last month that killed 40 people, according to the federal arrests database.

Salvador Gonzalez is the senior officer arrested so far in connection with the incident. He was arrested Sunday afternoon in Ciudad Juarez, the northern border city where the detention center is located.

Prosecutors accuse him of “direct involvement in behavior that led to homicide and injury to victims.”

Gonzalez did not immediately respond to requests for comment, although he previously told Reuters he would cooperate with the investigation. The National Migration Institute (INM) declined to comment.

The agency’s national head, Francisco Garduno, is also under investigation.

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A handful of former INM agents were also arrested, as well as an employee of a private security company tasked with working at the center.

According to the authorities, the fire broke out at the detention center in Ciudad Juarez in late March after one or more migrants set fire to mattresses in protest.

As a result, 40 male migrants, mostly from Central America, were killed and dozens injured in one of the deadliest migration incidents in recent memory.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the migrants were unable to flee because the person who held the key to their locked cell was absent.

(Reporting by Kylie Madry; Additional reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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