Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges tied to the failed smuggling operation that disastrously led to the deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio last month, officials said.

The driver of the truck, Homero Zamorano, and the alleged planner of the operation, Christian Martinez, both Texas natives, could each face life sentences or even the death penalty if convicted of counts of transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in death.

Homero Zamorano, Driver of the Truck
Christian Martinez, Accomplice and Planner

They were also indicted on transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in serious injury.

The dozens of deaths from the inhumane and sweltering conditions inside the packed 18-wheeler was the deadliest migrant smuggling operation crossing the US border from Mexico. 

Both Zamorano, 46, and Martinez, 28, remained in federal custody without bail pending 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 field near 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 the death penalty.

Original Article