2 Pasadena men indicted in migrant death-trailer case that killed 53

Photo from the scene where dozens of immigrants were found dead in a trailer near San Antonio.

Two men were indicted Wednesday in the case of a hot, airless tractor-trailer rig found with 53 dead or dying migrants in San Antonio, officials said.

A federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, and Christian Martinez, 28, both of Pasadena, Texas, on counts of transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in death; and transporting and conspiring to transport migrants illegally resulting in serious injury.

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Both remain in federal custody without bond pending trial. Martinez's attorney, David Shearer, declined to comment on the indictments. A message to Zamorano's attorney was not immediately returned.

Conviction on the death counts could result in life sentences, but the Attorney General's Office could authorize prosecutors to seek death penalties. The serious bodily injury counts carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

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The incident happened on a remote San Antonio back road on June 27. Arriving police officers detained Zamorano after spotting him hiding in some nearby brush, according to the U.S. Attorney's statement.

Surveillance video of the 18-wheeler passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint showed the driver matched Zamorano's description, according to the indictment. A search of Zamorano's cellphone revealed calls with Martinez concerning the smuggling run.