AmericaAuthorities said they arrested the driver of a container truck containing the body of a migrant in San Antonio and that he appeared to be high on meth.
US citizen Homero Zamorano, 45, was arrested while on the run, after leaving a container truck in a deserted area in San Antonio, Texas on June 27. He is in hospital and is expected to be prosecuted.
“This person was high on meth when he was arrested near the scene and had to be taken to the hospital,” local newspaper San Antonio Express-News quoted a law enforcement official.
Investigators traced the container truck registry to an address in San Antonio to look for more suspects in connection with the incident. The San Antonio Police Department set up a surveillance net at the home and saw a man with a gun driving away, identified as D’ Luna-Bilbao. Police continued to monitor and discovered another suspect, Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez. Both are Mexican citizens.
The two are indicted in federal court in the United States for possessing a firearm while residing illegally, according to US court and government documents dated June 28.
51 migrants, 39 men and 12 women, died after being trapped inside an unair-conditioned container truck in hot conditions in San Antonio on June 27. This is one of the deadliest human trafficking tragedies in recent years.
“It’s a tragedy beyond words,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, noting that the city relies on migrants amid a labor shortage.
At least 27 Mexicans, three Guatemalans and four Hondurans were among the dead, officials from the three countries said. The nationality of the other victims is not known at this time. The 16 survivors, including four children, are being treated in hospital for heatstroke and exhaustion.
A law enforcement official said migrants on the container truck were sprinkled with steak seasoning, a way smugglers use to mask body odor and avoid detection by sniffer dogs.
The tragedy highlights the challenge of controlling illegal immigration for President Joe Biden, who has pledged to reverse some of the tough immigration policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. Republicans have criticized Biden’s border strategy ahead of the November midterm elections.
According to Jack Staton, a former senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, the interstate I-35, near where the container truck was found, runs from the border with Mexico via San Antonio, to Trafficking corridors are popular because of the heavy truck traffic.
In July 2017, 10 migrants died after being transported in a container truck. Driver James Matthew Bradley Jr. sentenced to life imprisonment.
“It’s only a matter of time before a tragedy like this happens again,” Staton said.