Inside a box truck 62 people being smuggled from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, something went wrong. When found, most of the group were already dead from the heat. The death toll was 53 on Tuesday, in what officials are calling one of the worst episodes of migrant death in the United States in recent years. The incident occurred near San Antonio, Texas.
The driver of the truck was found and apprehended as he fled the scene. “We got him leaving the scene,” Chief William McManus of the San Antonio Police Department said in an interview with The New York Times. “He was found in a field nearby.”
In the NYT article, Chief McManus said the truck had Texas license plates and fit a pattern noted by officers in the city: the use of tractor-trailers by human smugglers. “We’ve seen it a number of times,” he said. “It is inherently dangerous because once you’re locked in there, you’re stuck,” he said. “Once the refrigeration goes out, the air-conditioning goes out, it’s nothing but a death trap.”
Authorities say human smuggling is on the increase and using tractor-trailers is also becoming more commonplace.