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47 of 53 Texas migrant tractor-trailer victims now identified, including a 13-year-old

Family grieves cousins in migrant tragedy
Guatemalan family grieves over teen cousins who died in Texas migrant tractor-trailer tragedy 01:53

All but six of the 53 migrants found dead or dying in a tractor-trailer in Texas last week have been identified, officials said Wednesday.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office said 22 of the dead were from Mexico, 19 were from Guatemala and six were from Honduras.

The migrants were found in an abandoned trailer June 27 on a back road on the edge of San Antonio. The alleged driver of the truck was due in federal court Wednesday for a detention hearing.

The dead included two 16-year-olds from Mexico and a 13-year-old and 14-year-old from Guatemala, the medical examiner's office said. Relatives in Guatemala had previously identified the teens as cousins: 13-year-old Pascual Melvin Guachiac and 14-year-old Juan Wilmer Tulul Tepaz.

Family and friends gather to mourn the dead of their loved ones who died in the U.S., in Nahuala
A woman holds photos of 13-year-old Pascual Melvin Guachiac and 14-year-old Juan Wilmer Tulul Tepaz, cousins who died along with other migrants in San Antonio, Texas, at the small village of Tzucubal, in Nahuala, Guatemala June 29, 2022. SANDRA SEBASTIAN / REUTERS

In Honduras, family members identified two of the victims as 23-year-old Alejandro Miguel Andino Caballero, 23, and his wife, 24-year-old Margie Tamara Paz Grajeda. 

One survivor of the journey, a 20-year-old from Guatemala, told The Associated Press that smugglers had covered the trailer's floor with what she believes was powdered chicken bouillon, apparently to throw off any dogs at checkpoint.

The truck was carrying 73 people in all when it was found June 27. Federal prosecutors say four people have been arrested in connection with the discovery of the truck, including the driver.

Two men charged in the incident could face the death penalty, the Justice Department said last week.

Texas native Homero Zamorano, the alleged truck driver, was arrested on criminal charges connected to his alleged involvement in the deadly smuggling campaign. If convicted, the 45-year-old Pasadena resident faces up to life in prison, or the possibility of the death penalty, according to the Justice Department.

Christian Martinez, 28, was also charged after federal law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on a cell phone belonging to Zamorano. Investigators found communications between him and Martinez in which they discussed the smuggling attempt, according to the DOJ.

Craig Larrabee, a Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge of investigating the incident, called it "eye-opening" and "horrific" in an interview.

"This is the highest casualty event related to human smuggling in U.S. history," he told CBS News.

Larrabee said his agency has recorded an increase in transnational smuggling networks using tractor-trailers to transport large groups of migrants who entered the country unlawfully. 

"You have organizations that simply do not care about the safety of the individuals they're transporting," he added. "It's a commodity."

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