Officials: Suspected Driver of Migrant Truck Found High, Hiding

Officials say Homero Zamorano was found high on meth, hiding near truck
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2022 9:37 AM CDT
Officials: Suspected Driver of Migrant Truck High on Meth
Police and other first responders work the scene where officials say dozens of people were found dead after a tractor-trailer containing suspected migrants was found on Monday in San Antonio, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The man suspected of driving the tractor-trailer where 53 migrants were found dead earlier this week in San Antonio was high on meth when authorities discovered him cowering in the brush near the truck, according to a Texas congressman. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar tells Reuters he was briefed by US Customs and Border Protection that Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, had methamphetamine in his system, a fact confirmed by a CBP official. Two officials say the same to the Washington Post. Zamorano was reportedly hospitalized after he was found. He and 28-year-old Christian Martinez, another man allegedly involved in the smuggling attempt, could face the death penalty if they're convicted of the human trafficking charges against them.

Prosecutors say that as authorities made their grim discovery Monday in the truck from Mexico, they found additional victims in nearby brush, along with Zamorano, a US citizen. Mexican officials say Zamorano initially tried to pretend he was one of the people who'd been riding in the back of the sweltering truck. A confidential informant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Texas police who spoke to Martinez after the 18-wheeler was found says Martinez told him that Zamorano hadn't known the air conditioning in the truck had stopped functioning as he was driving, per court records. Cuellar tells Reuters that the tractor-trailer likely had some kind of mechanical issue as it headed toward San Antonio that cut off the AC and ventilation.

Authorities have traced the registration for the tractor-trailer back to 23-year-old Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez, and 48-year-old Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao, Mexican citizens who have an address in San Antonio. Those two men were arrested and charged with being undocumented immigrants in possession of several weapons and at least one rifle. They could see up to 10 years behind bars. Meanwhile, Zamorano's ex tells the New York Post that she's "shocked" about what's happened. "I know he wouldn't do anything if he knew it was gonna harm anybody," an emotional Jennifer Duncan says of her estranged husband, whom she says she split from six months ago. "He is a good man, you know. He goes out of his way to help anybody and everybody." (More migrants stories.)

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