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4 arrested in migrant smuggling case

Top Stories in Dallas - Fort Worth, June 29
Top Stories in Dallas - Fort Worth, June 29 01:59

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, was arrested on June 29 on criminal charges related to alleged involvement in alien smuggling resulting in death, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

The death toll of migrants who died after they were abandoned in the back of a tractor-trailer that was discovered Monday in San Antonio rose to 53 on Wednesday. More than a dozen others were taken to local hospitals with heat-related injuries. 

Zamorano is the suspected driver of the tractor-trailer. Zamorano was seen hiding in brush by the tractor-trailer.

If convicted, Zamorano faces up to life in prison or the death penalty. 

Christian Martinez, 28, was also charged. Martinez was arrested in Palestine, Texas on June 28.  

Martinez was charged with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death, according to the U.S. DOJ. Martinez, who the U.S. DOJ said had communications with Zamorano concerning the smuggling, could also face up to life in prison or the death penalty.  

In addition to charges against Zamorano and Martinez, officials arrested Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez, 23, and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao, 48, both citizens of Mexico. 

D'Luna-Mendez and D'Luna-Bilbao were in the U.S. illegally and were charged by criminal complaint with one count of possession of a weapon by an alien illegally in the U.S, the U.S. DOJ said.

According to court documents, the registration for the tractor-trailer used in the smuggling was traced to a residence in San Antonio. The San Antonio Police Department set up surveillance on the residence and observed two males leaving in separate trucks, according to the U.S. DOJ.

After traffic stops on both trucks, the drivers were identified as D'Luna-Mendez and D'Luna-Bilbao. D'Luna-Bilboa was in possession of a handgun that was found in the center console of the truck he was driving. Police executed a search warrant at the residence, where more firearms were found.

D'Luna-Mendez and D'Luna-Bilbao face up to 10 years in prison. 

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