A worker heard a distant call and found a tractor-trailer abandoned on a remote road outside San Antonio. Perilous trek north for scores of illegal migrants, many of them Mexican, culminated in a hot tractor-trailer 150 miles north of the US-Mexico border.
The worst human smuggling episode in US history claimed 51 lives by Tuesday. San Antonio’s mayor called it a “horrific human tragedy.” The local merchant called the isolated, pitch-black route where the semi-truck was abandoned “la Boca del Lobo”
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The road runs along to Interstate 35, an important north-south artery in the central U.S. From Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota, near the Canadian border. San Antonio to Austin, Waco, Fort Worth, Dallas.
“This shows how hazardous people smuggling is,” said Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio’s Craig Larrabee. “Smuggling groups used to be mom-and-pop,” said Larrabee. “They’re now organized and linked to cartels. A criminal group doesn’t care about migrant safety. They’re treated as commodities.”
A Cry For Help Leads To ‘Stacks Of Bodies’
A worker in a neighboring building heard a call for assistance just before 6 p.m. on Monday, according to San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus. The worker found the trailer’s doors slightly open. Chief: Inside, he saw corpses.
Two individuals died later in hospitals, according to an anonymous federal law enforcement officer. Mexican, Guatemalan, and Honduran migrants. Outside the trailer was a corpse.
A federal law enforcement officer stated the vehicle had 22 Mexicans and 2 Hondurans.
Guatemala’s foreign ministry said seven Guatemalans were killed and another was in serious condition. San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters Monday, “We’re not meant to see piles of dead on a truck.” Nobody comes to work thinking that.
Survivors, Suffering From Heat Stroke, Were Hot To The Touch
Human smuggling along the southern border may be dangerous and deadly. In 2017, 10 migrants died and dozens were injured in a Walmart tractor-trailer. Trucker received life without parole. First responders at the San Antonio location where migrants died.
Angelita Olvera placed two crosses near Tuesday’s tragedy. CNN: “No idea.” Grandkids, sons, and parents. Monday was the 90s to low 100s in San Antonio. 12 adults and 4-children were hospitalized. Hood said heat stroke and tiredness patients were heated. AC wasn’t working. Dry interior. Unknown.
If anyone ever needed evidence of how desperately undocumented immigrants want to be in the United States, then look at the truck deaths in San Antonio. Those poor people were in pursuit of a job to help their families. 50 died together under the worst possible circumstance.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) June 28, 2022
When Hood came, the survivors were too feeble to help themselves. Felipe Betancourt Jr. of Alamo, Texas told CNN Monday’s abandoned semi-truck included his federal and state IDs. The red Volvo in San Antonio isn’t his. Insulated semi-trucks keep temperatures, added Betancourt. “It won’t let heated cargo escape. Doors may reach 125-130 degrees.”
The vehicle crossed a checkpoint north of Laredo on Monday, said Democrat Henry Cuellar.
Authorities are investigating. Three people were taken from the trailer, said, Chief McManus. ICE suspects smuggling.
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Two men were charged with “possession of a handgun by an illegal immigrant” Unknown whether the two accused men were among three prior arrests. The semi truck’s Texas license plate led authorities to a San Antonio house. Guns were recovered in the suspects’ car and truck after they left the property.
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