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Mexican officials identify driver of 18-wheeler found in San Antonio

Mexico's president and its head of the National Migration Institute shared more details about the driver in a news conference Wednesday.

SAN ANTONIO — The driver of a red 18-wheeler which contained more than 50 migrants who died in sweltering conditions in San Antonio has been identified.

Mexican officials identified the driver as Homero Zamorano, who was spotted on camera at a checkpoint in Encinal, TX Monday afternoon around 2:50 p.m., just three hours before San Antonio first responders discovered the more than 40 bodies of migrants in the trailer. 

The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed this in a release on Wednesday, and named three other suspects in the deadliest human smuggling attempt in modern American history.

According to Francisco Garduno Yanez, the commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM), Zamorano was driving the red 1995 Volvo 18-wheeler truck that appeared to belong to the company Betancourt Trucking and Harvesting. But the vehicle, registered in Alamo, TX had overlapping plates and indicated the truck did not belong to the owner and his plates, logos and license were cloned.

Zamorano allegedly tried to pass himself off as one of the survivors when he and two other suspects, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao were also charged.

Records show Zamorano has a lengthy criminal history which includes reckless injury to elderly and multiple drug offenses.

The INM reported that three people were detained and are accused of being responsible for the human trafficking and deaths caused.

Credit: National Migration Institute (INM)
Mexican authorities create a map showing the predicted path of the 18-wheeler carrying 67 migrants Monday.

At one point, officials say the trailer was stationed at a location 235 kilometers from the Mexican border and 50 kilometers from San Antonio. The origin of the vehicle's path is being investigated, but Mexican investigators believe the truck may have been parked somewhere in the Lower Rio Grande Valley initially.

Officials say 67 migrants total were in the trailer. 27 were from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, 7 from Guatemala, 2 from El Salvador and the others' home countries are still being determined.

At this time, Mexican authorities are reporting 16 immigrants in six area hospitals.

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