BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The suspected driver in the smuggling tragedy that resulted in the death of 53 migrants is from Brownsville.
Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, was arrested for “involvement in alien smuggling resulting in death,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Zamorano was originally from Brownsville before moving to Pasadena, the release stated.
On June 27, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) officers responded to a human smuggling event involving a tractor trailer. Officers with SAPD arrived at the location after receiving calls from concerned citizens.
Officers at the scene discovered multiple people inside the trailer and some in the brush area nearby. Many of them were dead, or incapacitated, the release stated.
As of Friday, the death toll from the incident was 53.
Laredo Sector Border Patrol provided surveillance footage of the trailer crossing an immigration checkpoint. The driver could be seen in the footage wearing a black, striped shirt and a hat. HSI confirmed Zamorano matched the driver’s description and was wearing the same clothing, the release stated.
Officers found Zamorano hiding in a bush. A report by The Hill stated that Zamorano attempted to act like one of the migrants when officers arrived in an attempt to avoid being arrested.
Zamarano is being charged with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death, and faces up to life in prison or the death penalty, the DOJ stated.
Along with Zamorano, authorities also arrested Christian Martinez, 28, Juan Claudio D’Luna Mendez, 23, and D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, for their involvement in the incident.