Jun 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Smuggling charges filed against 2 men over Texas migrant deaths

 People ommemorate as they leave flowers, candles and water, where dozens of dead migrants found in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, United States on June 29.

People commemorate as they leave flowers, candles and water on Wednesday where dozens of bodies were found inside a truck in San Antonio, Texas, in a suspected migrant-smuggling operation. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Two men are facing smuggling charges in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants who were found inside a tractor-trailer in searing heat in San Antonio, Texas, this week, federal officials announced late Wednesday.

Driving the news: Prosecutors said the alleged driver, Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, was charged with smuggling resulting in death, and Christian Martinez, 28, was charged with "conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death," per a Department of Justice statement.

  • Both men face a maximum sentence of life in prison or possibly the death penalty if convicted, the DOJ said.

The big picture: 27 Mexicans, 14 Hondurans, seven Guatemalans and two Salvadorans died in one of the worst border tragedies involving migrants, Mexico's government said.

  • The death toll from the heat-related tragedy rose to 53 on Wednesday after two more migrants died. Minors were among 11 people still in local hospitals after being found in the tractor-trailer on Monday.

For the record: Prosecutors charged two other people, Juan Claudio D'Luna Mendez, 23, and Juan Francisco D’Luna Bilbao, 48, both Mexican nationals, on Tuesday with illegal possession of firearms following search of a San Antonio residence.

Go deeper: Migrant tragedy underscores border policy divide

Go deeper