Mexican men arrested in Texas migrant deaths to remain jailed

Two Mexican citizens arrested in Texas this week in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants who perished inside a sweltering truck will remain in jail, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez, 23, waived his detention hearing Friday and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, had his attorney file to delay his hearing until August 1.

The pair was arrested Monday after law enforcement officers saw them leaving the address tied to the registration of the abandoned truck where the migrants died of apparent heat stroke and dehydration.

D’Luna-Bilbao was allegedly caught with a handgun stashed in the center console of a pickup truck he was driving and more weapons were allegedly found inside the house at which the death truck was registered.

Both men were charged with possession of a weapon by an alien illegally in the US, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

It is unclear what role the two men are thought to have played in the horror that unfolded Monday, when officials say driver Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, abandoned the tractor-trailer full of 64 migrants at a well-known smuggling spot outside San Antonio.

Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao are accused of being involved in the migrant truck left outside San Antonio, Texas.
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People visit and commemorate as they leave flowers, candles and water, where dozens of dead migrants found in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, United States on June 29, 2022.
Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao could face a 10-year jail sentence for carrying weapons to the US.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Forty-eight were dead by the time authorities found the truck.

Zamorano allegedly drove the truck from the southern border and through at least one immigration checkpoint in a triple-digit heatwave. Authorities said there was no working air conditioning in the trailer.

The accused smuggler has been charged with a single count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death. He could face the death penalty if convicted.