The driver of the scorched tractor-trailer truck, where at least 51 migrants were found dead in Texas, was reportedly “very high on meth,” officials said.
Homero Zamorano, 45, was taken into custody at a nearby farm on Monday after he allegedly left an 18-wheeler with dozens of migrants in a desolate area of San Antonio.
“When he was arrested nearby and had to be taken to the hospital, he was very much on meth,” a law enforcement officer told the San Antonio Express News.
After a serious search of bodies inside the truck on Monday evening, investigators were able to trace the vehicle’s registration to the San Antonio address, which they kept under surveillance, officials said.
They later arrested two other men, Juan Claudio de Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco de Luna-Bilbao, when they each left the residence.
According to criminal complaints, both D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Mendez were charged with illegally possessing firearms while in the US.
It was not immediately clear what the two men’s alleged involvement in the smuggling tragedy was or if they would face additional charges.
The Mexican official said the driver was also expected to be charged, but remained in hospital until Tuesday night.
Officials said the death toll had risen to at least 51 by Tuesday – including 39 men and 12 women. Two young sisters originally from Guatemala – Carla and Griselda Carac Tambris – were also among the victims.
Officials have so far identified at least 27 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans and two Hondurans, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Mexico’s Consul Rubén Minutti-Zanata.
The nationalities of the other victims are yet to be identified.
Local officials said they were alerted to the tragedy after a city worker shouted for help from behind the truck.
Law enforcement arrived to find the trailer’s rear door open with a “pile of dead bodies” while others were scattered nearby.
The temperature in San Antonio reached a high of 103 degrees on Monday.
First responders found 16 survivors suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion. According to first responders, four of those admitted to the hospital – including the children – were hot to the touch and dehydrated.
With Eli Griffin, Maryanne Martinez and Post Wire