Federal prosecutors announced charges against four additional men in the deaths of 53 migrants trapped in a tractor-trailer in South Texas last year. Smugglers allegedly knew the truck's air conditioning wasn't working. Prosecutors said the men worked together on a smuggling operation that moved migrants through a web of guides, stash houses, trucks and transporters. They orchestrated retrieving the trailer in which the migrants died and recruiting its driver, Homero Zamorano Jr., prosecutors. said, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The men, Riley Covarrubias-Ponce, Felipe Orduna-Torres, Luis Alberto Rivera-Leal and Armando Gonzales-Ortega, are Mexican nationals ranging in age from 28 to 53. Each faces four charges involving conspiracy and illegally transporting migrants resulting in death or serious injury. At least some of the defendants knew that the trailer’s air conditioning wasn’t working properly and wouldn’t blow cold air on the migrants, according to a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday. Regardless, it says, they organized loading at least 66 people, including eight children, into the tractor-trailer in Laredo, for a three-hour trip to San Antonio on June 27, a day the temperature surpassed 100 degrees.