Mayor Indicted For Negligent Homicide; Governor Steps Down
GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ The mayor of Guadalajara and eight other officials have been indicted on charges including negligent homicide in connection with the sewer explosions that killed at least 194 people last week.
A federal judge ordered Mayor Enrique Dan Flores and the others, including officials of the government oil company Pemex, held without bail until their trials for the blasts blamed on leaking gasoline.
Also Thursday, the governor of Jalisco state that includes Guadalajara announced he is stepping down for one year, said spokesman Armando Mortecho.
Gov. Guillermo Cosio Vidaurri has been under intense fire to quit for not taking preventive action that could have avoided the April 22 blasts that also injured more than 1,400.
At least nine major explosions of gasoline leaking into sewer pipes devastated 20 blocks of Guadalajara’s La Reforma neighborhood, tearing up miles of streets and avenues.
Residents in the area had been complaining for days that the sewers reeked of gasoline, but neither Cosio nor Mayor Enrique Dau Flores took any action.
More than 5,000 people were left homeless, and another 4,000 were forced to evacuate their homes in an adjoining neighborhood, when investigators from the Attorney General’s Office determined that gasoline was leaking from a tank- farm belonging to the state petroleum monopoly Pemex.
Mortecho said Cosio is stepping down ″because it is convenient for the interests of the state and in order to safeguard the interests of those affected″ by the catastrophe.
A member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in power since 1929, Cosio was never popular in the state. He has long been accused of governing in a high-handed manner, of nepotism and of cronyism.
A federal judge ordered Dau Flores, four Pemex officials and four other state and city officials to remain in jail and await trial without bail. They were charged with negligent homicide, criminal negligence, causing damage to property and violating federal ecology laws.
Formally indicted together with Dau Flores were:
-Juan Antonio Delgado Escareno, the Pemex superintendent in Guadalajara.
-Jose Adan Avalos Solorzano, Pemex’s local operations chief.
-Angel Bravos Rivadeneira, the Guadalajara chief of the commercial section of Pemex.
-Roberto Arrieta Maldonado, local chief of Pemex pipelines.
-Jose Luis Gutierrez Gomez, the head of Guadalajara’s sewer maintenance.
-Jorge Umberto Huizar, the sewer system’s qualify control manager.
-Manauel Jimenez Lopez, manager for water use of the sewer system.
-Aristeo Mejia, state urban development secretary.