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Texas: Accused migrant truck driver from San Antonio claimed to be a survivor when arrested, police say | American News| News Today

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The man believed to have driven the truck in which dozens of migrants died during a people smuggling attempt in Texas has posed as a survivor to try to avoid arrest.

Homero Zamorano Jr, 45, was arrested near the scene after being found hiding in a bush, according to federal prosecutors.

The director of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, Francisco Garduno, said on Wednesday he had “tried to pass himself off as one of the survivors” when he was detained in San Antonio.

Zamorano and a second suspect, Christian Martinez, 28, have both been charged for their alleged involvement in the death of 53 migrants.

Martinez was charged with a single count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, while Zamorano was charged with one count of alien trafficking resulting in death.

If found guilty, both face life in prison or the death penalty, the US Department of Justice said.

The truck was carrying migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

He was found abandoned on the outskirts of San Antonio on Monday, with officials finding the back door of the truck ajar with “piles of bodies” inside, many of them hot to the touch.

In addition to 53 deaths, 11 other people, including children, are still hospitalized.

Temperatures in the area that day were recorded at 103 F (39.4 C) and authorities said they found no water supplies or signs of working air conditioning inside the trailer freight.

While Zamorano was arrested at the scene, Martinez was detained after investigators connected him to the truck driver through Zamorano’s cellphone.

Police work at the scene where dozens of people were found dead inside a trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas

Migrants embarked on American soil

Mexican nationals Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilboa and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez have also been charged as suspects.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Of those who died, 27 were from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, seven from Guatemala and two from El Salvador, according to the Mexican government.

The majority of the dead were male, but 13 were female, the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Surveillance footage shows the moment the truck passed through a border checkpoint in Laredo, Texas, on Monday, before the migrants boarded.

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“The migrants were already on American soil,” before boarding the truck, Mr. Garduno said.

The truck reportedly passed two other border cameras in Texas as it drove deeper into US territory.

The migrants likely crossed the border in small groups before being held in a safe house in Texas and then placed on the truck to be moved further into the United States, according to a source from the Mexican migration institute.

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