Three people have been taken into police custody after the bodies of at least 46 illegal immigrants were found smuggled in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, the deadliest smuggling incident in American history.
#BREAKING: At least 46 people are found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in #SanAntonio, Texas, with more than a dozen others hospitalized. Authorities revealing the horrific conditions found inside. Breaking new details – Tonight at 11 from ABC7 https://t.co/Q9liJ9Ngun pic.twitter.com/DM6nWHqsxZ
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 28, 2022
Death toll rises: 50 dead after truck of immigrants found on San Antonio’s Southwest Side https://t.co/wqsQedqTRr
— San Antonio Express-News (@ExpressNews) June 28, 2022
“Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, citing information provided by U.S. authorities, said the death toll was at least 50, including 22 Mexican citizens, seven Guatemalan citizens and two Honduran citizens,” ABC News reported.
“Forty-eight people died on the scene, and two died at hospitals, the federal law enforcement official told CNN on Tuesday, noting the toll is preliminary,” CNN stated, adding, “High temperatures Monday in the San Antonio area ranged from the high 90s to low 100s, according to the National Weather Service.”
16 people in the truck, which was found near Interstate 95, survived and were taken for medical treatment. The deadliest human smuggling incident prior to Monday occurred on May 13, 2003, when 18 migrants died, according to a CNN article from the time.
The dead bodies “were hot to the touch,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood stated, adding, “There were no signs of water in the vehicle, and no visible working AC unit on that rig.”
“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg echoed, according to The Washington Post, which noted, “The deaths come amid a surge in migration at the border, with the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures showing that immigration arrests there in May rose to the highest levels ever recorded. … The agency is on pace to surpass the record 1.73 million border arrests tallied in 2021.”
“The truck had U.S. and Texas Department of Transportation registration numbers on the cab,” The Post reported.
“Horrified at this tragic loss of life near San Antonio,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus stated in a tweet on Tuesday. “This speaks to the desperation of migrants who would put their lives in the hands of callous human smugglers who show no regard for human life.”
“As temperatures start to rise in the summer, human smugglers will continue to exploit vulnerable populations and recklessly endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain,” Magnus said prior to the incident. “The terrain along the Southwest border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must hike after crossing the border are unforgiving.”
“I hate to say this, but some of these kids are rented out by parents who can’t afford to pay the coyotes to the cartels,” Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs said. “So they let their kids be used over and over again to create these false family units. All of that horrific inhumanity that goes on when you don’t secure your border.”