Feds arrest fourth suspect in connection with deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio

Authorities arrested the fourth man after finding communications between he and the truck's driver on a cell phone.

click to enlarge Law enforcement officials arrested Christian Martinez, 28, in the East Texas town of Palestine. - Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Law enforcement officials arrested Christian Martinez, 28, in the East Texas town of Palestine.
Federal authorities have charged a fourth man in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants trapped in a sweltering tractor-trailer abandoned in Southwest San Antonio.

Law enforcement officials arrested Christian Martinez, 28, in the East Texas town of Palestine and charged him with conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants resulting in death, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In the aftermath of the grisly discovery on Monday, authorities had already arrested the truck's suspected driver, Homero Zamorano, 45, along with Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, both picked up on weapons charges.

Authorities swept up Martinez after discovering communication between him and Zamorano on the driver's cell phone, court documents show.

If convicted, Martinez and Zamorano face up to life in prison or possibly the death penalty, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Both D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Mendez, who are in the country illegally, face up to 10 years in prison, according to federal officials.

Forty-eight migrants were dead at the scene when the abandoned truck was discovered Monday evening. Five more have died since receiving medical treatment, while 11 more remain under hospital care.

The case is being called the deadliest migrant smuggling incident in U.S. history.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.
Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.