The organizer of a Central American caravan Raúl Antonio Ventura Juárez was arrested on human trafficking charges on Monday in Monumento al Divino Salvador in San Salvador City, El Salvador – the intended meeting point for those who would join him on the journey to the United States. This is the first case of its kind, according to AP News.
Ventura Juárez reportedly rallied people together through text and social media messages with the goal of heading north together. It is unclear whether Ventura Juárez was looking to profit from the caravan but nowhere does it state that the people gathered against their will.
Fifty people showed up on Monday. For comparison, 20 people from El Salvador were in this year’s first caravan, according to CNN.
“There was already information that there would be a person there. [We] knew his identity and that he gave information about documents, clothing [and] medicine they should bring,” an unnamed official told CNN in Spanish.
On Thursday, a judge ruled that Ventura Juárez will remain in prison for the next six months, which is reportedly the allotted time for the investigation to take place. He could face a total of four to eight years in prison if convicted.