Four Indicted for Deaths of 53 Migrants Found in Texas

Police found 42 migrants dead in a tractor-trailer near San Antonio. (KSAT Video Screenshot)
KSAT Video Screenshot

A federal grand jury in Texas handed down indictments against four men in connection with a June failed smuggling attempt that killed 53 migrants. Two of the men are from Mexico and were in the country illegally.

This week, federal prosecutors presented their evidence before a federal grand jury that handed down two separate indictments.

In one case, 46-year-old Homero Zamorano, the driver of the tractor-trailer, and Christian Martinez, 28, were charged with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death and one count of conspiracy resulting in injury and another related count apiece. If convicted, both men face possible life terms in prison.

In a connected case, federal prosecutors obtained an indictment against 23-year-old Claudio De Luna Mendez and 48-year-old Juan Francisco De Luna Bilbao on possession of a firearm while illegally present in the United States. Both men are Mexican nationals and were in the country illegally at the time of the alleged crimes. If convicted, both men face possible 10-year prison sentences and deportation.

The charges against the four men stem from a June 27 fatal smuggling attempt where various individuals loaded 64 migrants into a tractor-trailer and tried to drive them north from Laredo to San Antonio. Authorities found the trailer in southwest San Antonio where several migrants had died from apparent heat-related illnesses. In total, 53 migrants, including three children, died.

Zamorano tried to hide from authorities and initially claimed to be one of the migrants. Authorities arrested Martinez soon after.

As part of the investigation, authorities went to the address where the truck was registered and as part of a surveillance operation arrested both De Luna Bilbao and De Luna Mendez. Inside the house, both men kept several firearms.

Luisana Moreno is a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.


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