Two men are charged by a grand jury with the smuggling of 53 migrants


SAN ANTONIO — Officials announced Wednesday that two men were arrested in connection to a tractor-trailer rig with 53 dying or dead migrants found in San Antonio.

A federal grand jury found Homero Zmorano Jr. and Christian Martinez, 28, each of Pasadena in Texas on charges of conspiring and transporting migrants illegally to cause serious injury and death.

Both are still in federal custody and remain without bail pending trial. David Shearer Martinez’s lawyer declined to comment about the charges. An email to Zamorano’s lawyer was not returned immediately.

Convictions on death charges could lead to life sentences. However, the Attorney General’s Office may authorize the prosecutions to pursue death penalty. For serious bodily injuries, sentences can be up to 20 year in prison.

The incident occurred on a San Antonio backroad on June 27. According to the U.S. attorney’s statement, Zamorano was found hiding in some brush by arriving police officers.

Surveillance video of the 18-wheeler passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint showed the driver matched Zamorano’s description, according to the indictment. Searches of Zamorano’s phone revealed that Martinez had called him regarding the smuggling operation.

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