Truck driver charged in migrant smuggling tragedy set to go before federal judge in San Antonio

Homero Zamorano Jr. is charged in connection with the death of 53 migrants found in tractor-trailer

A photo taken of Homero Zamorano taken at the CBP inspection point in Encinal at 2:50 p.m. on July 27, 2022. (via Mexican National Palace Briefing)

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE (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.

---

(Original Story)

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 detention hearing is scheduled for the man who is charged in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants who were found in a semi-trailer outside San Antonio last week.

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.

Also on KSAT:


About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.