Translated by Jesús Ronquillo / Circuito Frontera
This Thursday, a control judge removed the preventive detention of the coordinator of Grupo Beta, Juan Carlos Meza Cumplido, for his alleged link to the March 27 fire at the National Migration Institute (INM) in Ciudad Juárez. However, he was granted bail in the amount of 20 million pesos.
The fire at the Provisional Stay B of the INM in this border was an event that shocked the community in general, since in this event 40 people lost their lives and 27 more were injured, all of them of migrant origin.
Regarding the case of the coordinator of Grupo Beta, Leonardo Lara Ferreiro, defense attorney of Legal Estudio Jurídico, told Circuito Frontera that this thursday a hearing was held to review the precautionary measures in the case of his client.
He mentioned that the hearing derives from an amparo (constitutional injunction) filed for the review of Juan Carlos Meza’s precautionary measures and, although the defense managed to remove the preventive detention, the judge established a bail of 20 million pesos, a sum that was considered disproportionate.
“The amparo judge orders the control judge to omit or remove the unofficial preventive prison and open debate for the Prosecutor’s Office to justify the preventive prison (…) we went to hearing, after hearing the parties, neither the Attorney General’s Office nor the private legal advisor nor the legal advisor of the Commission for Attention to Victims could justify the preventive prison of Juan Carlos”.
He pointed out that other precautionary measures were also imposed, such as the surrender of his Mexican passport and his visa to enter the United States, even though the accused demonstrated that he had roots in this locality, as well as that he could not have any contact with the victims.
“As the judge had nowhere to ‘grab’ because the Prosecutor’s Office could not justify, he said ‘I recognize that the person has roots in the city, I recognize that he is not going to put the process at risk and I recognize that he is not going to put the victims at risk, however I consider that there is a very high risk that he will evade the action of justice for that reason I am going to impose the amount of 20 million pesos’. But he went too far”.
He was asked if there was any justification on the part of the judge and he mentioned that the judge did not make a good decision, since he should have given a voice to the Attorney General’s Office so that they could determine what precautionary measure should be given to Juan Carlos Meza.
The lawyer explained that the law only provides for an economic guarantee, but does not specify an amount, although he pointed out that the bail must be proportional.
During the interview, Lara Ferreiro highlighted the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office could not support its decision to keep Juan Carlos behind bars, a victory for the defense that highlights the lack of solid grounds against him.
It should be recalled that Juan Carlos Meza Cumplido, coordinator of Grupo Beta, was linked to the investigation of the fire, after the Attorney General’s Office presented a document in which he is pointed out as the person in charge of the Internal Protection Unit, however, the document lacks all the signatures of the intervening parties.
Besides the fact that he was assigned to the area of Tornillo, 60 kilometers away from the place where the incident occurred.
Also, the Attorney General’s Office omitted evidence in the trial for the indictment of his client, such as the videos of the security cameras inside the federal precinct.
Lara Ferreiro indicated that the defense will now focus on demonstrating that Juan Carlos Meza Cumplido did not sign the document that indicates that he is responsible and that the complementary investigation is still ongoing.
The lawyer added that, although legally they consider the elimination of the prison sentence as an achievement, the magnitude of the bail poses new challenges for the defense.
He said that, although the complementary investigation has a maximum term of six months, the FGR’s legal advisor was able to suspend this limit through an injunction, a strategy that gives them more time to gather evidence and present a solid case.