Nearly a month after dozens of undocumented immigrants were found dead in the rear of a semi truck in San Antonio, Texas, two men are in police custody on federal charges related to the incident. Christian Martinez, 28, and 46-year-old Homero Zamorano Jr. were indicted this week and both face criminal counts related to transporting migrants resulting in death.
A total of 53 victims died after they were left in the abandoned truck trailer on June 27. Several survivors were transported to local hospitals to be treated for serious illnesses caused by exposure to extreme heat and seven later died.
Authorities discovered the heartbreaking scene after a passerby heard noises coming from inside the vehicle. Although the trailer was equipped with a cooling component, it was apparently not operable when the migrants were left inside.
First responders said that the survivors felt very hot upon being rescued and were experiencing severe symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood explained: “They suffered, horrendously, could have been for hours.”
Martinez and Zamorano could be locked up for the rest of their lives if convicted, or U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland might push for the death penalty.