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Four Indicted For Roles in Migrant Smuggling Attempt That Killed 53

Four men were indicted in connection with the deadliest known migrant smuggling attempt in U.S. history, where 53 people were found dead inside an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, reports USA Today. A federal grand jury indicted Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, and Christian Martinez, 28. Both men were charged with one count each of conspiracy to transport and transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death, and conspiracy to transport and transportation of aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy. Some 50 adults and three children died during the June 27 smuggling attempt, and 10 adults and one child were injured. The victims were from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.


Many of them suffered from heat stroke and heat exhaustion, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said, and there were no signs of water or working air conditioning unit on the truck. Zamorano, of Pasadena, Tx. drove the tractor-trailer across the U.S.-Mexico border. San Antonio police arrested him after he tried hiding in a bush when the truck was discovered. Also indicted were Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, 23, and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, both Mexican citizens. They were each charged with one count of possession of a firearm while unlawfully present in the U.S. Investigators located D'Luna-Mendez and D'Luna-Bilbao by tracing the addresses on the tractor-trailer's registration. Authorities found a handgun in the truck D'Luna-Bilbao was driving and additional firearms in the residence.