Four men have been arrested after a U.S. attorney in the Western District of Texas dumped a tractor trailer into a deserted road in San Antonio on Monday, killing 53 immigrants.
The alleged driver of the truck, 45-year-old Homer Zamorono Jr., is facing a felony charge of foreign trafficking that results in death and, if convicted, life imprisonment or the death penalty.
He was found hiding in a brush near a truck Monday evening after trying to get away from officers, the U.S. attorney said. Border patrol agents later provided surveillance footage of a man matching the description of Zamorono driving a truck from the Laredo Sector checkpoint.
A law enforcement official told the San Antonio Express-News that Zamorano was “too much on meth when he was arrested nearby and taken to hospital.”
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Zamorano is originally from Brownsville but now lives in Pasadena, southeast of Houston.
Authorities issued a search warrant on Zamorono’s cell phone and found that he had allegedly communicated with 28-year-old Christian Martinez about the smuggling operation.
Martinez was arrested on Tuesday in Palestine, about 150 miles north of Houston, and charged with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens that led to his death.
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Authorities found 48 migrants dead at the scene. The other 16 were taken to a local hospital, where five died.
Of the dead, 22 were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala and two from Honduras. Authorities are trying to identify the other 17 migrants.
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Two more suspects were arrested in connection with the tragedy after police tracked a truck registration at a home in San Antonio.
Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, 23, and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, were charged in the U.S. with illegal possession of a firearm by a foreigner. They are both Mexican citizens.