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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Details on Arrests Made in Connection to Deaths of 53 Migrants in Cloned Semi-Truck Trailer

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

The cloned semi-truck carrying possibly 100 migrants, of which 53 have died was seen at multiple checkpoints along its route from Laredo to San Antonio, Texas.

Federal authorities arrested four people Tuesday in connection with a human smuggling incident on San Antonio’s Southwest Side that left 53 migrants dead after a harrowing journey in a sweltering tractor-trailer. It was one of the deadliest such episodes in recent history.

The alleged driver, Homero Zamorano, 45, was arrested after officials say he abandoned the tractor-trailer in a desolate area near Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and fled the scene. Zamorano has addresses in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley.

“He was very high on meth when he was arrested nearby and had to be taken to the hospital,” a law enforcement officer said.

Also charged by criminal complaint is Christian Martinez, 28, who was arrested on June 28, 2022 in Palestine. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death. According to court documents, a search warrant was executed on a cell phone belonging to Zamorano.

After arresting Zamorano, authorities traced the semi-truck to a home in the 100 block of Arnold in Bexar County. They put the house under surveillance and saw two men — Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez — leaving in a Ford F150 truck, sources said.

When authorities stopped the truck, one of the men confessed to having a weapon in the vehicle. Officers obtained a search warrant and searched the home on Arnold, where they found more guns, according to court records. The two men were arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms while in the country illegally. They were detained without bail after a brief hearing in federal court. 

Truck's Route & Driver

According to two law enforcement officials, the truck traveled from Laredo up Interstate 35 to San Antonio. With Interstate 10 running east to west and Interstate 35 south to north, San Antonio is a major crossroad for human smuggling. Along that route, the truck passed through several border and immigration checkpoints where it was seen on surveillance cameras showing the driver, Homero Zamorano who was captured after the abandoned truck was discovered.

Laredo Sector Border Patrol provided HSI agents with surveillance footage of the tractor-trailer crossing through an immigration checkpoint. The driver could be seen wearing a black shirt with stripes and a hat. HSI agents confirmed Zamorano matched the individual from the surveillance footage and was wearing the same clothing.

The truck's driver, Homero Zamorano may appear Wednesday in federal court on human smuggling charges. He has a long criminal history. He was high on meth at the time and taken to the hospital for treatment. 


Zamorano is charged by criminal complaint with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death. He is originally from Brownsville but resides in Pasadena, TX. If convicted, Zamorano faces up to life in prison or possibly the death penalty. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


Migrant's Covered in Steak Seasoning

The truck may have been carrying around 100 migrants, but the exact number remained unclear, according to local and federal law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.

It appeared the migrants had recently crossed the border and were picked up by the truck to be taken to where they would work, according to a Mexican official, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official, and another U.S. official, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, said the death toll from Monday’s human smuggling incident makes it “the worst one we’ve seen in the U.S.”

“The (human smuggling) organizations are getting more violent — they don’t care about the people,” he said. “They don’t think of them as people. They think of them as commodities.”

In other developments, many of the people found inside the truck were covered in steak seasoning, one law enforcement official said Tuesday, likely in an effort to disguise their scent as the smugglers were transporting them.

Timothy Tubbs, who retired as the deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Laredo, said smugglers commonly use seasonings to aid their smuggling operations.

“Dogs are trained for several things. Some are trained to smell money. Some are trained to smell narcotics and weapons, and some dogs are trained to smell human beings,” Tubbs said. “They will put seasoning on them to cover their scent so they can get through the Border Patrol checkpoint.”

Law enforcement officials said after being covered in the meat seasoning they were stuffed into a truck's trailer that had been “cloned” to look like a legitimate truck.


Videos show the legitimate truck and DOT numbers under its Betancourt Trucking & Harvesting logo. The smuggler's truck mimicked theirs and forged the DOT numbers but did not display the company's primary logo. 

Cloned Commercial Truck Used

The Volvo truck, a red tractor unit with a large white trailer, was found around 5:50 p.m. Monday after nearby workers heard cries for help and walked over to the tractor-trailer to investigate.

One person was outside the trailer, lying on the ground. The workers opened the doors and discovered dozens of stacked bodies inside, officials said. The semi-truck was first linked to an Alamo man, but an investigation revealed the smugglers had cloned that Texan's license plate and registration.

'His DOT Number was illegally copied onto the truck...' Isaac Limon, whose father-in-law's vehicle information had been stolen. 'It was a perfect setup.' The truck that actually belonged to Limon's family had been out hauling grain in another part of Texas at the time of the incident.
 
The truck, which was traced to a trucking company based in the border town of Alamo, TX had actually been cloned, the company owners said. Human smuggling groups and cartels often replicate legitimate vehicles to use in illegal border crossings going so far as to create fake school buses with mannequins standing in as passengers.

The owners of Betancourt Trucking and Harvesting, Felipe Betancourt Sr. and his son, Felipe Jr. said someone cloned their truck, with the same color and identifying numbers from the federal Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Transportation. However, the cloned truck does not bear the Betancourt logo, like their company vehicles do.

“Ours is sitting right here,” Felipe Jr. said by phone. “My truck doesn’t have a window on the side like the one in San Antonio. That one in San Antonio is not our trailer.” He said his father started the business in 2007 and bought the truck in 2020. He said the truck has been hauling grain from Harlingen to Progreso.


Victims Being Identified

The 46 deceased migrants from Mexico and Central America were found in the abandoned tractor-trailer, which could fit around 100 people. 16 other people were rescued from the trailer and were hospitalized, including an adolescent boy who was in critical condition at University Hospital. 7 of those hospitalized since being rescued have died as well. 

The dead were 41 men and 12 women. Twenty-two were from Mexico, seven were from Guatemala and two were from Honduras, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said. The rest are still being identified.

Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, whose South Side precinct includes the area where the truck was found, said a 23-year-old woman from Guatemala being treated at University Hospital was in serious condition, and a teenage boy was there in critical condition.

Clay-Flores said 34 of the bodies have been “potentially identified.” But she said the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Officer has been stretched thin by the tragedy.

“Because of the high number of victims from last night, we have reached out to neighboring counties for assistance from their medical examiner’s offices also,” Clay-Flores said.

Clay-Flores advised those who feared that a loved one could have been on the tractor-trailer to call the Guatemalan Consulate at 956-800-7351.

71 comments:

  1. Excellent article 👍 .
    Great moves by law enforcement. Quickly they caught the criminals.
    Even there method of operation.
    Had they done it in Mexico, they would be long gone and free to commit more crime

    ReplyDelete
  2. In order to get that information, do smugglers simply hang out at truck stops and take pictures of the license plate plus the information posted on the truck doors? I suppose you could do it in traffic next to a big rig to be less obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bury these pukes under the prison.

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    Replies
    1. Many dies on U.S. soil while under their care, they were making a lot of money from them, and they could not afford to put water and a/c on. I would say for sure, they will serve life. Better yet it happened in Texas it might be the death penalty.

      Delete
    2. Anyone and I mean anyone for any reason
      who would allow themselves and their families to be locked into the back of a trailer in 100 degree heat at the behest of the coyotes and cartels deserves this fate.

      Come on people. This is NOT rocket science.

      Delete
    3. Reply to cbc: So, You are Judge, Jury, and Executioner, of some of the most vulnerable? Compassion isn't Rocket Science either.

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    4. 4:04 you really think they deserve to die for making a wrong decition? Its like saying you deserve to die for wishing other people's death, im sure this guys told them they would get there safe, you have to be really ignorant on the matter to think the smugglers would tell the imigrants "yea your gonna be locked in a trailer in 100 degrees heat" you really have no fucking idea what people will do in desperate times, its a coin flip and if you think they deserve to die than i hope you know most likely your parents, grand parents or your grate grate grant parents did the same and they made it and thanks to them your here thinking people who are doing the same as your siblings deserve to die! You piece of shit

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    5. 748 pm: Raising my glass to you.

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    6. Here, here, me too, Laststraw, to the piece of shit for brains!!

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    7. People who don't know need will never understand people unknowingly putting their lives at risk in pursuit of a better life they can't get in their own countries, less the powers that be brand them comunistas fit to kill, ask the victims of all the melitary trained by the Schools of the Americas franchises...

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    8. 7:56 pinche Sir empesaste bien y de repente te gano la droga

      Delete
    9. cbc1972 the last thing you want to do here is find yourself permanently banned for saying dumb shit. Use that brain of yours if you want to keep commenting here.

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    10. 7:33 even if you are the worst of the worst, you do not deserve to have "comments" like cbc's.

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    11. Okay, so now raising glass to Sol. It's 5 o'clock somewhere

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    12. LASTRAW Let the festivities begin 🥃

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    13. Pinche Lastraw y sol borrachines! Inviten las caguas culos

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    14. 6:35 llega le para Houston, Texas. Ya ando activado hasta los pinches pelos de tanto licor. 😄

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    15. 6:56 some day homie and dont worrie i wont anitch 🤣🤣

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  4. Mexican killing his own race. And then there’s trump saying “Mexico sends its criminals” Mexican government don’t care about its people that’s why they flee from Mexico.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are an idiot.

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    2. Trump's words don't matter, he was FIRED, and he is not a president no more.

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    3. Sure fooled me trump doesn't matter. Isn't there a thing on tv about trump lol.

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    4. Msnbc still has trump stories on front page but igmores Biden. Trump broke the sensitive liberal asswipes. Pobrecitos

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    5. 1:51 trump is an american criminal, one of the worst, by himself worse than all the illegal aliens put together, trump is the racist son of a millionaire racist corporate welfare queen...

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    6. 7:40 you really think this is the site to talk about Republican'ts or libtards shit? Man im not into politics but ill tell you what as old and dumb as biden is he beat an even dumber Trump, they both suck but biden sucks a lil less, as bad as we are doing with gas and inflation im sure we would of already had gone under groud with trump just like all of his bussiness, the only reason he kept afloat when he was president its cause he was spending all his budget in his bussiness, any ways both partys suck

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    7. 8:19 any place, any time...
      After all even people that said give the "man" a chance and the benefit of the doubt, are sorry for having given that sorry piece of shit a chance, even Hillary had hope, pendeja...

      Delete
  5. These Coyotes have any cartel affiliation?

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    Replies
    1. Here in San Diego they do. In 2020 my buddy got tricked into picking up 5 migrants near Ocotillo and it seemed to be the CJNG who operated it. The migrants supposedly hadn’t had water in a few days.

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    2. Some do, some don’t. For the most part coyotes work in a certain area and thereby only do business with the local cartel. But some are brokers too and go for whatever the market offers. Most of the humans smugglers in the world are in fact “freelancers”, same goes for narcos. But the government wants you to think they are a formal cartel member when the fact is they are franchised or contracted on a case by case most of the time.

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    3. Let’s see Einstein do you think independents pulled off all this by themselves and just had 5 dozen warm bodies from MX and Central America to haul?

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    4. 12:38 Well the coyotes smuggling them across the border itself may just be franchised/contracted people a lot of the time but the cartel members are often what gets the migrants to the border itself from various regions in Mexico. Once on the U.S. side, sometimes the coyotes’ job is already over and a new person takes over transportation who isn’t really a coyote, just a “driver”.

      Delete
    5. Tejano ranchers and farmers love the cheap labor, many times they have it all set and send the migra instead of paychecks, ask around...
      This is not a coyotes' set up,
      it is a coyote use by greedy tejanuses.

      Delete
  6. Yesterday it was 46 found dead, 16 rescued but injured. Today it's 51 dead, 11 injured. This means that 5 of the injured passed away from heat stroke/heat exhaustion despite being treated at San Antonio hospitals as soon as they could be transported.

    I kinda thought a simple IV bag could save them. So I did some googling and apparently heat stroke causes your brain, kidney, heart and other vital organs to swell.

    During heat stroke, individual brain and liver cells will begin to die. Blood vessels become very dilated and your blood pressure is lowered. Cytokines are released causing your intestines to become more permeable then they should be, and substances normally kept in your digestive tract can enter your blood stream. Your circulatory system will often clot your blood, thinking all the damage to your system mean your blood vessels have been severed. So although it may seem suprising that people in a hospital can still die of heat stroke, in a way it makes more sense considering all the internal damage it does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never want to get heat stroke. Thanks for the info HEARST.

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    2. We are after all 80% liquid. We need hydration and to keep cool to survive .

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    3. It's 53 now.

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  7. Fuk the Driver was toasted on Meth OMG that reminds me of SIR.

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    Replies
    1. Lol, SIR stays up all night taking apart old washing machines then rebuilds them. That jale is no joke so stay away from it kids.

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    2. It was probably SIR's causin

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    3. Yes that makes people do crazy things, I have a wishing machine to donate to SIR, no wonder he is up all night, his health is going to make him look bad, if does not lay off the pipa. Teeth falling off, wierd skin sores.

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    4. 7:42 🤣🤣🤣 i knew a guy who was also a heavy user, he said he would stay up all night taking apart radios and old computers and putting them back together🤣🤣 was up with that shit?

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    5. 8:00
      I heard taking Meth, the brain plays with your mind.....start seeing things that are not there. Like roaches coming out of walls by the 100s.

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    6. 8:36 That's complete nonsense

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    7. 11:22 do you have any sperience with meth?

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    8. Lack of sleep is when people start hallucinating...

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    9. 4:12 and smoking meth causes lack of sleep so i guess imsopnia is a result of smoking which in turn causes hallutinations

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  8. I wondering where they crossed from. This is the most heinous disaster that Z has been linked to in awhile now and I figured Chapines would avoid them. Condolences to the victims and their families and all parties involved.

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    Replies
    1. 6:11 Allende Coah about 500 to 1000 murdered or disappeared, San Fernando about 100, and thousands other murders disappearances, barbequed, carniasadas, posoles, etc...
      does not compare with this accident at all.

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    2. The Allende massacre were not migrants. But yes, there’s been worse south of the border (irrelevant comment of yours however)…

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    3. They crossed from Mexico!

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  9. Similar thing happened here in the UK.

    R.I.P so sad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For reals mate? Mexicans in a Trolley/tractor trailer want to live in London? That's bloody mate, they Imagrate there, it will be the first for me to hear a Latino with a British accent.

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    2. A British comes onto the website once to comment and disappears, into a pub.

      Delete
  10. I'm still waiting for a BB report on the six mex cops killed recently in a shootout.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2022/06/6-police-officers-killed-in-anahuac.html

      Two stories before this one.

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    2. I am still waiting for BB to serve me Breakfast in bed.

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    3. I am still waiting to go on a date with BB blonde haired lady H

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    4. I am still waiting for the chinblaster pie
      Hearst promises me.

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    5. I am still waiting for BB to autograph my Nalgas.

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    6. I am still waiting for Sol of BB to invite me to his BBQ for the 4th of July.

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    7. 215 go to sleep.

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  11. Ultimately the cartels are responsible for this, and now theyve fucked themselves but good, the border is going to crack down so much more now. This amount of tragedy is like what happened in uvalde, and we see how America & FINALLY congress reacted to it. I hope the national guard crawls over every single northbound rig from now on- chinga su madre the cartels!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article mentioned they have K-9
      to smell for humans in Cargo. But eluded authority, because BBQ sauce on them made it possible. Wonder how much money they paid to go on the trailer.

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    2. I didn’t read it word for word but I never saw it mention BBQ sauce. Asking so you can write an article about it huh? Well you can’t ask the dead and if anybody here knew they’d legally need to be reporting it to the authorities. Have you also requested this so far inside information from law enforcement? Or are you ready to try the new A-1 steak seasoning body powder? Or are you trying to get some type of tip off from the law enforcement that troll and comment here? Good luck with that lol

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    3. 8:43 Steak seasoning =
      BBQ sauce
      A-1 sauce

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    4. Lol 8:43
      Is still scratching his head, in trying to locate where it says seasoning was put on their bodies, to throw off the human scent.

      Delete
  12. Why were the bodies found stacked?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because the alive ones needed room.

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  13. I have been in a poor part of Mexico for about 2 years now. These people arent starving at all! Actually they seem overall happier than in USA. Why risk your kids life for the American dream? Is it really worth it? I see more families together almost no hard drug use. Polite people. Peace

    ReplyDelete

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