San Antonio Driver Who Killed Over 50 Migrants Didn’t Know Truck’s A/C Failed: NPR


People gather outside a makeshift memorial for the 53 migrants who died this week in San Antonio.

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images


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San Antonio Driver Who Killed Over 50 Migrants Didn't Know Truck's A/C Failed: NPR

People gather outside a makeshift memorial for the 53 migrants who died this week in San Antonio.

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

According to court documents, the alleged driver of a tractor-trailer loaded with dozens of migrants who died this week was unaware that the trailer’s air conditioning had failed. More than 50 people have died after being trapped in the sweltering trailer discovered Monday in San Antonio.

Christian Martinez, one of the men arrested in the case, reportedly texted the alleged driver on Monday with a manifesto for the truck and a location in Laredo, Texas.

Martinez allegedly told a government informant that the alleged driver, Homero Zamorano Jr., “did not know the air conditioning unit had stopped working,” according to the lawsuit filed against him in Texas federal court.

In a sworn affidavit, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Nestor Canales describes a series of text messages between Zamorano and Martinez beginning around noon Monday.

“I’m going to the same place,” Zamorano reportedly sent Martinez. About half an hour later, Martinez responded with a GPS location in Laredo, Texas, according to the complaint.

Martinez reportedly sent several more text messages to Zamorano that afternoon, saying, “Call me bro” and “Wya bro,” which is said to be an abbreviation of “Where are you?”

Prosecutors said police later found Zamorano hiding in the brush near the abandoned 18-wheeler on the outskirts of San Antonio.

Zamorano, 45, appeared in federal court in San Antonio on Thursday. He is charged with one count of alien trafficking causing death. Martinez, 28, is charged with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death.

If convicted, both men face life in prison or the death penalty.

Besides Zamorano and Martinez, two other men have been charged in connection with the incident. Prosecutors say the registration of the tractor-trailer led police to an address in San Antonio. They then arrested two men identified as Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao. Prosecutors say both men were in the United States illegally and are now charged with weapons violations.

Fifty-three migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador died after being trapped in the trailer, making it one of the deadliest human trafficking tragedies on American soil.


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