Thursday, October 6, 2022

San Antonio trailer deaths live: Driver Homero Zamorano in court as photos show migrant truck at border

At least 46 bodies found in trailer, San Antonio officials say

Four people, including alleged truck driver Homero Zamorano Jr, have been charged in connection to the San Antonio migrant deaths, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old is charged with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death. He is from Brownsville but based in Pasadena, Texas, according to officials. He could face up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Three others were charged as well, including Christian Martinez, who allegedly discussed the smuggling plan in a call with Mr Zamorano, and Mexican nationals Juan Claudio and Juan Francisco D’Luna Mendez, who were found because their address was used to register the tractor- trailer that smuggled the migrants.

At least 53 people were discovered dead, “stacked” inside the truck’s tractor-trailer near San Antonio, Texas, in what authorities believe may be the deadliest human-trafficking incident in modern US history.

The alleged driver, Mr Zamorano, was high on meth when he was arrested and had a past history of drug use and arrests, according to family members.

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The other tragedy in Texas

As San Antonio grappled with scores of dead migrants, residents of the Texas border town of Uvalde are still struggling for closure after the historic mass school shooting there in May, which killed 21 people.

Photographer Billy Calzada of the San Antonio Express News captured the frustration of parents and community members at a meeting on Thursday as they sought answers from local officials about police failings during the attack.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 05:00

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Guatemala, Mexico families talk about sons after tragedy

Families of some of the youngest migrants mourned the deaths of their young sons who were setting off to the US with dreams of making big and helping the family there before their life came to a tragic end before their destination.

The family of Wilmer Tulul, 14, and Melvin Guachiac, 13, the two cousins ​​in Nahuala, Guatemala, said that they left home with dreams in their eyes to learn English and reunite with family.

“My grandson said he had a dream,” Wilmer’s grandmother Pascuala Sipac said, speaking in Quiche through a translator. “He made the journey but (the dream) never arrived.”

The two died along with 53 people in the deadliest US human smuggling tragedy on record.

The family members confirmed their deaths after seeing their photos sent from San Antonio morgue

The family of sons Jair, 19, and Yovani, 16, in Atexquilapan in eastern Mexico, are still waiting for closure with some information about their sons. Their parents are convinced that they were on the truck after they last talked to them on Monday morning.

“It’s very difficult for me to think about everything they went through,” said Yolanda Olivares. “It’s consuming me from the inside not knowing about them.”

Shweta Sharma1 July 2022 04:51

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Mexican Consul General visits San Antonio memorial

Rubén Minutti, the Consul General of Mexico, visited San Antonio on Thursday to pay his respects to the more than 50 migrants who died while being smuggled into the US in a crammed tractor-trailer.

A number of Mexicans were among the 53 dead.

Mr Minutti laid a wreath at the semi-rural site where the truck full of people was abandoned.

“Consular attention to the relatives of the victims has been offered from the first instants and will continue in each moment,” according to a statement from the Mexican Secretary of Exterior Relations office.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 04:16

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Photos show growing memorial at site of San Antonio trailer smuggling tragedy

An impromptu memorial has sprung up at the semi-rural location outside of San Antonio where more than 50 migrants were killed while being smuggled into the US in a tractor-trailer.

The displays included flowers, flags, and protest signs.

Artist Roberto Marquez is also painting a mural at the site.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 03:30

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Father describes final conversation with son who died in trailer: video

A father named Manuel told KHOU about how he tried to stop his son from migrating to the US, but that the 13-year-old, Wilmer, would not be deterred.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 02:45

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How are Republicans responding to the San Antonio migrant tragedy? By blaming Biden.

Not long after the discovery of the truck filled with dead migrants was made in Texas, Republicans including Texas governor Greg Abbott pounced and blamed Joe Biden’s border policies for what happened.

Here’s video of Mr. Abbott’s response.

And here’s what else the GOP is saying about what happened in San Antonio.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 02:00

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Supreme Court holds Biden can end Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

The Supreme Court held on Thursday that President Biden can end Donald Trump’s so-called “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy, which sent tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait on the Mexico side of the border as their claim processed.

The policy helped push would-be migrants towards unauthorized methods of entry.

The Biden administration tried to end the program on its first day in office, but the states of Texas and Missouri challenged the decision.

More details in our story.

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 01:30

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READ: Affidavit details arrest of Homero Zamorano

Homero Zamorano, the alleged driver of the truck found full of dead migrants in San Antonio, made his first court appearance on Thursday.

The US Attorney’s Office has provided the 45-year-old’s charging documents to The Independent.

Here’s the most relevant section, where a Homeland Security Investigations agent describes arresting Mr Zamorano, who could face a death sentence or life in prison if convicted.

An affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations division agent detailing the arrest of Homero Zamorano, the alleged driver of a semi-truck in which 53 smuggled migrants died of heat-related injuries.

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An affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations division agent detailing the arrest of Homero Zamorano, the alleged driver of a semi-truck in which 53 smuggled migrants died of heat-related injuries.

(US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas)

Josh Marcus1 July 2022 01:00

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What has Joe Biden said about the San Antonio migrant deaths? Read his statement.

The president, along with many leaders, responded in horror to the deaths of more than 50 migrants in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio.

Josh MarcusJuly 1, 2022 00:30

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San Antonio police chief previously tangled with ICE over jurisdiction in smuggling investigations

After more than 60 migrants were discovered in the back of a truck trailer in San Antonio on Monday, city officials swiftly handed the case over to the federal Department of Homeland Security’s invistigative division, the same agency that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

That differs from a similar 2017 incident, during which current San Antonio Police Chief insisted, “We are not involving ICE in this investigation.”

In that case, 12 suspected migrants were found in a tractor-trailer and interviewed by SAPD before being released.

Body camera footage shows immigration advocates telling the suspected migrants in Spanish that ICE is not coming to the scene, and to not be afraid about cooperating with the SAPD to catch the driver of the semi-truck.

The decision not to involve ICE led the Texas Attorney General’s office to sue the San Antonio police chief, a case which was settled for $300,000 this year, KSAT reports.

Josh MarcusJuly 1, 2022 00:00

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