A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted two men on crimes related to the unsuccessful smuggling attempt that tragically resulted in the deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio last month, according to officials.
Homero Zamorano, the driver of the truck, and Christian Martinez, the accused mastermind of the scheme, both Texas natives, could each receive a life sentence or potentially the death penalty if found guilty of offenses including the illegal transportation of migrants that resulted in death.
They were charged with carrying and planning to smuggle illegal immigrants who caused significant injuries.
The deadliest migrant smuggling operation entering the US from Mexico resulted in dozens of deaths due to the cruel and oppressive circumstances inside the cramped 18-wheeler.
Martinez, 28, and Zamorano, 46, were both held without bond in federal jail until a trial.
The migrants, many already dead or dying, were discovered in the truck on a remote San Antonio road.
Surveillance video shows the 18-wheeler passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint with the driver matching Zamorano’s description, according to the indictment.
A search of Zamorano’s cellphone revealed calls with Martinez over the smuggling operation, officials said.
Zamorano was found in a nearby field from where the truck was discovered and arrested last month.
If the men are convicted of the death counts that could lead to life sentences, but the Attorney General’s Office could instead allow prosecutors to seek death penalties.