US arrests 4 Mexicans in connection with death of 53 migrants in Texas

Rate this post

US authorities announced Tuesday the arrest of four people they say were involved in a human smuggling operation last year that killed 53 migrants, including eight children, who were abandoned in a trailer truck in the scorching summer. from Texas.

Authorities reported on the anniversary of the tragedy that occurred on June 27, 2022 that the four defendants played a planning role in the human smuggling operation, and that they were aware that the trailer truck's air conditioning was not working and was not working. it would cool migrants trapped inside during the nearly three-hour drive from the border city of Laredo to San Antonio.

When the trailer was opened in San Antonio, 48 migrants were already dead. Another 16 were taken to hospitals, where five of them died.

It has been the deadliest tragedy for migrants smuggled across the southern border of the United States. Among the deceased were 27 Mexicans, 14 Hondurans, seven Guatemalans and two Salvadorans.

The driver and another man were arrested shortly after finding the migrants. They were charged with human trafficking resulting in death and criminal association.

The four new arrests were made Monday in Houston, San Antonio and Marshall, Texas. The defendants are Riley Covarrubias Ponce, 30 years old; Felipe Orduña Torres, 28; Luis Alberto Rivera Leal, 37, and Armando Gonzales Ortega, 53. All were charged with conspiracy to transport migrants resulting in death, causing serious bodily injury, and endangering lives. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday reveals some details of a "mosaic association" of traffickers that allowed them to "consolidate costs, spread risk and operate more profitably."

The record alleges that the men participated in smuggling operations in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, and shared routes, guides, hideouts, trucks and trailers, some of which were stored in a private parking lot in San Antonio.

Migrants paid the organization up to $15,000 each to cross the US border. The fee covered up to three attempts to enter the country, according to the indictment.

Migrants were given a code word that they had to provide at various checkpoints during their journey, which would prove that they were “clients” who had paid a smuggler who had made the arrangements for them.

The indictment states that the men exchanged the names of the migrants who would be transported in a truck. Orduña Torres gave them the address in the border city of Laredo, Texas, where they would be picked up, and Gonzales Ortega met them there. The four then coordinated the trip and exchanged messages about the progress of the truck on the way to San Antonio.

The truck was found on a remote San Antonio road, and police officers who arrived on the scene detained the driver, Homero Zamorano Jr., after they saw him hiding in a nearby bush.

A security camera recording shows the truck passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint. A 20-year-old survivor from Guatemala told The Associated Press that traffickers had covered the trailer floor with what she believed was powdered chicken broth, apparently to mislead dogs at the checkpoint. .

Another survivor, Adán Lara Vega, said the truck was already hot when it left Laredo and that the trapped migrants soon began crying and asking for water. Some took turns breathing through a single hole in the wall, while others banged on the walls and yelled to get the driver's attention.

"Human smugglers prey on migrants' hope for a better life, but their only priority is profit," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "Tragically, 53 people who had been loaded onto the tractor-trailer in Texas and endured hours of unimaginable cruelty lost their lives to this ruthless ruse."

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.