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Death Toll Rises to 53 In Texas Smuggling Operation

The death toll from the discovery of dozens of migrants smuggled in a tractor-trailer rose to 53 on Wednesday, adding to what appear to be increasing fatalities among people attempting to illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico. Four people have been arrested in relation to the incident, the Wall Street Journal reports. The suspected driver, Homero Zamorano, 45, of Pasadena, Tx., was arrested Wednesday on one count of immigrant smuggling resulting in death. Federal prosecutors said he was recorded driving through a Border Patrol checkpoint in the hours before the truck was discovered on a remote road in San Antonio. Another driver, Christian Martinez, 28, was arrested in Palestine, Tx., on Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to transport unauthorized migrants resulting in death. Authorities found cellphone communications between the two men discussing the smuggling. Two other men were earlier charged with possession of a weapon by a person illegally in the U.S.. Both men were found at a home listed on the registration of the tractor-trailer, according to charging documents. The medical examiner for Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, said 40 of the victims found in the tractor-trailer are men and 13 are women. The identities of 37 haven’t yet been determined. Migrants in the truck included children set out hoping to earn enough to support their siblings and parents, young people who sacrificed to attend college thinking it would lead to success but who left their country disillusioned, and a man already working in the U.S. who returned to visit his wife and children and decided to take a cousin on his return to the U.S., the Associated Press reports.