Christian Martinez, 28, was arrested Tuesday in Palestine, Texas, charged with conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants resulting in death, the DOJ said.
If convicted, both Zamorano and Martinez could face life in prison or possibly the death penalty. CNN could not determine whether Zamorano or Martinez had an attorney.
When police arrived at the scene on Monday, they discovered many people inside the tractor-trailer, some on the ground and in nearby bushes, “many of them dead and some of them dead.” incapacitated,” the DOJ said in a statement.
“SAPD officers were led to the location of an individual, later identified as Zamorano, who was observed hiding in a brush after attempting to flee. Zamorano was detained by SAPD officers. “, the statement said.
Laredo Area Border Patrol also provided Homeland Security Investigations agents with surveillance footage showing the tractor-trailer passing an immigration checkpoint, according to the statement. The driver can be seen wearing a striped black shirt and hat.
“HSI officers have confirmed that Zamorano matches the individual in the surveillance footage and is wearing the same clothing,” the statement read.
An investigation revealed that contact had occurred between Zamorano and Martinez in connection with the smuggling event, according to the release.
D’Luna-Mendez’s attorney said he does not comment on pending cases. CNN has reached out to D’Luna-Bilbao’s attorney and received no response.
No water or AC inside the trailer, fire police said
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters Monday. It was unclear how long the people inside the truck had been dead, he said.
Monday’s high temperatures in the San Antonio area ranged from a 90s high to a 100-year low, according to the National Weather Service.
“None of these people were able to get out of the truck on their own,” Hood said. “So they’re still there, waiting for help, when we arrive … which means they’re too weak – impaired state – to really go out and help themselves.”
Craig Larrabee, San Antonio Department of Homeland Security Investigations acting special agent in charge, described it as “the worst human-trafficking event in the United States.”
“In the past, smuggling organizations were mom and big. Now they’re organized and tied to gangs. So you have a criminal organization that doesn’t care about the safety of migrants. They are treated like commodities rather than people”. Larrabee told CNN in a phone interview.
Business owners in the area who found the trailer told CNN they were shocked.
“They’re human, it’s horrible,” said Israel Martinez, 68, co-owner of USA Auto Parts. “We (the migrants) come to this country for a better life and yesterday reminded many of us that sadly, some of us get there but many Others can’t.”