Two Mexican nationals charged in connection with deadliest human trafficking incident in US history
US Army / Wikimedia Commons
Two Mexican nationals charged in connection with deadliest human trafficking incident in US history

Juan Francisco D’Luna Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez were charged by US authorities Tuesday after 51 migrants were found dead in a semi-truck in San Antonio, Texas, in what is believed to have been the deadliest human trafficking incident in U.S. history. 

The San Antonio police department discovered a semi-truck transporting some 100 migrants across the border Monday. Stacks of bodies were found inside the truck with the remaining victims collapsed beside them. In total, 39 men and 12 women died in the incident.

Prosecutors filed charges in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas after law enforcement connected the two men to the semi-truck. Law enforcement found that D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna Mendez both lived in the property, where they discovered multiple weapons after obtaining a search warrant of the home. Both men admitted to having overstayed their visas, and thus to having been present in the US illegally. Furthermore, Homeland Security officers determined that the guns were not made in Texas and had “traveled in interstate and/or foreign commerce.”

The men face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In a statement on the incident, US President Joe Biden said Tuesday: “Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful … and my Administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States.”