more than halfThe youngest of those identified dead or found dead in a tractor-trailer in Texas last week is 13, officials said Tuesday.
According to officials in Bexar County, where the trailer was found, the medical examiner’s office is still awaiting confirmation of the identities of 18 victims following the nation’s deadliest smuggling attempt.On a backroad on the edge of San Antonio.
Yearning for the families waiting for confirmationTo , Now they expect what would have been scary before — capture by the Border Patrol, even hospitalization — with anything but grim finality that continues to trickle down family by family across the region.
The victims identified so far were between 13 and 55 years old. One of the survivors of the journey, atold The Associated Press that smugglers covered the floor of the trailer with what they believed was powdered chicken broth, apparently to throw any dogs at checkpoints.
The difficult process of identification is on, but some families have already confirmed their loss. In Honduras, family membersAlejandro Miguel Andino Caballero, 23, and his wife, Margie Tamara Paz, 24, as Grajeda. In Guatemala, relatives confirmed that two teenage cousins, Pascual Melvin Guachiac and Juan Wilmar Tulul Tepez, had also died.
A total of 73 people were in the truck when it was found on June 27. Federal prosecutors say four people, including the driver, have been arrested in connection with the search for the truck.
two accused in the incidentThe Justice Department said last week.
Texas native Homero Zamorano, the alleged truck driver, was arrested on criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in a deadly smuggling operation. According to the Justice Department, if convicted, the 45-year-old Pasadena resident faces the prospect of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Christian Martinez, 28, was also charged after federal law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on a cell phone belonging to Zamorano. According to the DOJ, investigators found communications between him and Martinez in which they discussed the attempted smuggling.
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Craig Larrabee called it “eye-opening” and “horrible” in an interview investigating the incident.
“This is the highest human trafficking-related casualty in American history,” he told CBS News.
Larrabee said his agency has recorded an increase in international smuggling networks using tractor-trailers to transport large groups of migrants entering the country illegally.
“You have organizations that just don’t care about the safety of the individuals they are carrying,” he said. “It’s an object.”