Two men were indicted on Thursday by a San Antonio grand jury for the deaths of 53 migrants that were found packed inside a tractor-trailer. On June 27 authorities discovered 50 adults and three children had died out of the almost 100 migrants that were jammed inside the 18-wheeler.
According to the Department of Justice, 46-year-old Homero Zamorano Jr of Pasadena, TX and 28-year-old Christian Martinez have been charged with "one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy, all in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 132"
The 46-year-old driver of the truck, Homero Zamorano, was arrested after fleeing the scene and taken into custody. He was allegedly "very high on meth" when police arrested him. According to a DOJ search warrant on his phone, records showed Martinez was a participant in the human smuggling operation with whom Zamorano was collaborating.
If convicted for the charges of conspiracy to transport and transport resulting in death, the men could be facing a maximum of life in prison or the death penalty, with the latter option being determined at a later date by the Attorney General.
The defendants could also face up to 20 years in prison for the charge of transporting resulting in serious bodily injury charges.
The migrants originated from Mexico and elsewhere across Central and South America, and survivors were suffering exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. The deceased victims showed evidence of heat-related causes of death and were sprinkled with meat seasoning to mask the odor of their bodies.
San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus said that the tractor-trailer was refrigerated, but that the refrigeration system was not functioning and no drinkable water was found inside the trailer. June 2022 has been the warmest June on record in San Antonio with 16 days of temperatures 100 degrees or higher.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed President Joe Biden for the tragedy because of the ongoing border crisis caused by the administration’s policies.
Abbott tweeted, "At Least 42 People Found Dead Inside Truck Carrying Migrants In Texas. These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law."
When Joe Biden took office in 2021 he dramatically loosened restrictions along the southern border which contributed to a growing humanitarian crisis.
The Biden Administration and HHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas repeatedly said that children would be admitted and that those seeking asylum would also be let in in an effort to distinguish themselves from the Trump Administration.
It is a federal misdemeanor to illegally cross into the United States and a felony if it's done twice yet President Biden has remarkably reduced the number of prosecutions for that crime.
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