Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges of the botched smuggling operation that disastrously led to the deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio last month, officials said.
The truck driver, Homero Zamorano, and the alleged planner of the operation, Christian Martinez, both Texas natives, could each face life sentences or even the death penalty if convicted of illegally transporting and conspiring to kill migrants result.
They were also charged with illegally transporting and conspiring to cause serious injury to migrants.
Dozens of deaths from the inhumane and sweltering conditions inside the packed 18-wheeler was the deadliest migrant smuggling operation to cross the US border from Mexico.
Both Zamorano, 46, and Martinez, 28, remained in federal custody without bail pending trial.
The migrants, many already dead or dying, were discovered in the truck on a remote road in San Antonio.
Surveillance video shows the 18-wheeler passing a border patrol checkpoint with the driver matching Zamorano’s description, according to the indictment.
A search of Zamorano’s cell phone revealed conversations with Martinez about the smuggling operation, officials said.
Zamorano was found in a nearby field from where the truck was discovered and arrested last month.
If the men are convicted on the number of deaths, it could lead to life sentences, but the Attorney General may instead allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
With Post wires