Four arrested, charged in human trafficking operation that left 53 migrants dead in Texas

The alleged driver of the truck, 45-year-old Homero Zamorano Jr., is facing one count of alien smuggling resulting in death and faces life in prison or the death penalty if he is convicted. 

He was found hiding in the brush near the truck on Monday evening after trying to get away from authorities, the U.S. Attorney said. Border Patrol agents later provided surveillance footage of a man who matched Zamorano’s description driving the truck through a Laredo Sector checkpoint. 

Body bags lie at the scene where a tractor trailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.

Body bags lie at the scene where a tractor trailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A law enforcement official told the San Antonio Express-News that Zamorano was “very high on meth when he was arrested nearby and had to be taken to the hospital.”

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Zamorano is originally from Brownsville but now lives in Pasadena, a city southeast of Houston

Authorities conducted a search warrant on Zamorano’s cell phone and found that he allegedly communicated with 28-year-old Christian Martinez about the smuggling operation. 

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. 

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

Martinez was arrested in Palestine, about 150 miles north of Houston, on Tuesday and charged with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death. 

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Authorities found 48 migrants deceased at the scene. The other 16 were transported to local hospitals, where five died. 

Of the deceased victims, 22 were from Mexico, seven were from Guatamala, and two were from Honduras. Authorities are trying to identify the other 17 migrants. 

Police block the scene where a semitrailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio. 

Police block the scene where a semitrailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Two other suspects were also arrested in connection with the tragedy after police tracked the registration on the truck to a home in San Antonio. 

Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, 23, and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, were charged with one count of possession of a weapon by an alien illegally in the U.S. They are both Mexican nationals. 

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