Two men were charged Wednesday in connection with a hot, airless tractor-trailer rig found last month.Officials said in San Antonio.
A federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, of Pasadena, Texas. and charged Christian Martinez, 28, with conspiracy to unlawfully transport and transport migrants resulting in death; and serious injuries resulting from conspiracy to smuggle and transport migrants.
Both ofwithout bond pending trial. Martinez’s attorney, David Shearer of San Antonio, declined to comment on the allegations. A message for Zamorano’s attorney was not immediately returned.
Conviction on the death count can result in a life sentence, but the Attorney General’s Office can authorize prosecutors to seek the death penalty. The count of grievous bodily harm carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
It was the deadliest tragedy for migrants crossing the border from Mexico. Francisco Garduño, head of Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration, said the truck was full of 67 people and that the dead included 27 from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, seven from Guatemala and two from El Salvador.
The incident happened on June 27 on a remote road in San Antonio. According to a statement issued by the US Attorney’s Office, arriving police officers saw Zamorano hiding in a nearby bush and arrested him. A search of Zamorano’s cell phone turned up calls with Martinez about smuggling.
Surveillance video of an 18-wheeler passing a Border Patrol checkpoint showed the driver matched Zamorano’s description, according to the indictment. A 20-year-old man from Guatemala who survived the trip told The Associated Press that the smugglers probably covered the floor of the trailer with powdered chicken broth to throw off the dogs at the checkpoint.
The tragedy comes at a time when large numbers of migrants are arriving in the United States, many of them taking dangerous risks to cross rapid rivers and canals and cross scorching desert landscapes. Migrants were stopped about 240,000 times in May, a third more than a year ago.
Among the 73 people who died in the truck were those from the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Mexico, Zacatecas, Keeretaro, Morelos and Mexico City. Migrants from Honduras and Guatemala were among those killed in the deadliest known smuggling attempt in the United States.
In 2017, 10 people died after being trapped inside a parked truck at a San Antonio Walmart. In 2003, the bodies of 19 migrants were found in a hot truck in the southeast of the city.
2 men accused of the death of 53 migrants were found behind the trailer
Source link 2 men accused of the death of 53 migrants were found behind the trailer