Migrant shelter operator, key figure in border-aid trial arrested in Mexico

The founder of a migrant shelter in Sonoyta, Mexico, and a key but absent figure in the trial of No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren, was arrested Wednesday in Mexico, his colleagues say. 

A post on Pueblo Sin Fronteras’ Facebook page said Irineo Mujica was arrested around 2:30 p.m. in Sonoyta, Sonora. It is unclear what Mujica was arrested for.

Mujica is director and founder of the migrant support group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. The group also tweeted and retweeted several confirmations of Mujica’s arrest. 

The group’s social media posts also indicated Cristobal Sanchez, another Mexican who provides aid to migrants, was arrested in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in Warren’s trial focused on Mujica’s role in the case this week in Tucson’s federal court, the Star reported Tuesday

Warren is accused of conspiring to smuggle two men and then harbor them at an aid station in Ajo in January 2018. He argued he provided food, water, and shelter to two men in need who showed up at the aid station, a ramshackle structure known as The Barn.

The indictment doesn’t say with whom Warren is accused of conspiring, but a subsequent search of Warren’s phone showed calls he had made with Mujica, among others.

Warren’s attorneys said those were innocent calls about helping migrants, but the prosecutor implied they were signs of possible planning between the two.

While Mujica is not facing charges in connection with the January 2018 incident, his name has come up various times in court documents and in testimony during the trial.

Warren’s attorney said last week that Mujica was on the defense’s list of potential witnesses but could not be found to testify.  

There were two instances in which Mujica, who is a U.S. citizen, was stopped by Border Patrol agents between the border and Ajo in the five weeks after Warren’s arrest. 

Mujica was arrested once in southern Mexico while taking part in a large migrant caravan in October 2018, but was released the next day. 

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