The suspected driver of a truck packed with dozens of migrants who were killed in a scorching heat during a smuggling attempt in Texas this week was charged with death in a US federal court on Wednesday for migrant smuggling.
Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, a Texas native, was arrested Monday near the scene of the incident after he tried to pose as a survivor of the tragedy that killed 53 migrants and killed a single human. Damage done. Incident of trafficking in the United States.
Announcing the charges, the US Justice Department said that if convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison or possibly the death penalty.
Detained as a co-respondent in the case on Wednesday was 28-year-old Christian Martinez, who was arrested on Tuesday and charged with one count of conspiracy to transport migrants illegally, resulting in had died.
Federal prosecutors said Martinez was linked to the unfortunate smuggling operation through communications with Zamorano after investigators discovered Zamorano’s mobile phone.
A tractor-trailer truck loaded with migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador was abandoned on Monday near a highway on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, in a desolate, industrial area about 160 miles (250 km) north . US-Mexico border.
The temperature in that area had soared to 103 Fahrenheit (39.4 Celsius) that day, and officials were called to the scene, finding no water supply or working air conditioning inside the cargo trailer.
Officials described the finding at the rear of the trailer with a “pile of dead bodies” inside, many of them hot to the touch. Other victims were traced to the ground nearby. It was not clear from official accounts how the door opened.
According to radio dispatch audio from officers present at the first spot, no one inside the trailer was conscious and at first only about a dozen were breathing.
Two more people suspected of involvement in an illegal smuggling operation, both Mexican nationals, were charged Tuesday in US federal court with illegal immigrants in possession of firearms.
Authorities said the pair – Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez – were arrested when they were seen exiting a San Antonio residence listed on the tractor-trailer’s Texas state vehicle registration.
A federal judge in San Antonio has ordered him to remain in custody to face a preliminary hearing on Friday.