Updated Jul 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

2 Texas men indicted over tractor-trailer tragedy that left 53 dead

People place flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial where a tractor-trailer was discovered with migrants inside, outside San Antonio, Texas, on June 29, 2022.

A makeshift memorial outside San Antonio, Texas, where a tractor-trailer was discovered with people dead or dying inside. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Two Texas men were indicted Wednesday in connection with the heat-related deaths of 53 migrants who were found inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio last month, prosecutors announced.

The big picture: A federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted Homero Zamorano, 46, of Pasadena, and Christian Martinez, 28, of Palestine, on charges that include conspiracy to transport and the transportation of illegal migrants resulting in death, per a Justice Department statement.

  • These charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison or the death penalty, according to the Department of Justice.
  • Zamorano and Martinez also face charges of conspiracy to transport and the transportation of illegal migrants aliens "resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy." They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of those charges.

Details: Authorities found dozens of migrants inside the 18-wheeler trailer in the searing heat on June 27.

  • San Antonio Police Department officers detained Zamorano after he was "observed hiding in the brush" nearby and a search of his cellphone uncovered "communications ... between Zamorano and Martinez concerning the smuggling event," the DOJ alleges.

Go deeper: Humanizing the thousands who died at the border

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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