SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE (10 a.m.): A truck driver set to go before a federal judge in San Antonio on Wednesday had his hearing waived. It will not take place as scheduled.
Homero Zamorano Jr. was arrested on criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in human smuggling resulting in the death of 53 migrants found in a semi-trailer. During the hearing, he was expected to learn if he was eligible for bail.
A detention hearing is scheduled Wednesday for the man charged in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants found in a semi-trailer outside San Antonio last week.
Homero Zamorano Jr. was arrested on criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in human smuggling resulting in death. During the hearing, he is expected to learn if he will be eligible for bail.
Zamorano is accused of transporting the migrants from the Texas-Mexico border on June 27. Custom Border Patrol cameras show it passing checkpoints in Encinal and Cotulla before arriving in San Antonio where he parked the truck in the 9600 block of Quintana Road.
When San Antonio police arrived on the scene, they said Zamorano was hiding in some brush after trying to get away. Sources said he then tried to blend in with migrants to avoid being arrested.
A Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal History search shows Zamorano has arrests dating back to 1995. His convictions range from misdemeanor marijuana charges to felony charges of burglary of a habitation and reckless injury to an elderly person. Zamorano is originally from Brownsville, but lives in Pasadena, according to DOJ officials.
According to court documents, Zamorano spoke by cellphone with Christian Martinez, 28, on June 27 about the alleged smuggling event. Martinez told investigators that Zamorano didn’t know the air conditioning wasn’t working in the trailer until he was in San Antonio.
Martinez, who was arrested in Palestine, Texas, was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants resulting in death. If convicted, the men face could face life in prison or the death penalty.
Fifty-three migrants died when the tractor-trailer was found on Quintana Road near Cassin Drive. As of Monday, 35 of the 53 deceased victims have been conclusively identified and the remaining 18 victims have been potentially identified. The victims range in age from just 13 years old to 55 years old.
There is now a makeshift memorial for the victims on Quintana Road.