TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Palestine man arrested for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death admitted his involvement to a confidential informant, according to court documents.
Christian Martinez, 28 of Palestine, was arrested on June 29 in connection to the tractor trailer smuggling incident in San Antonio that resulted in 53 fatalities, and it was soon identified after incident that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tyler had an active investigation into Martinez.
Through HSI Tyler and Palestine Police, an informant was identified, who told investigators that “Martinez said the driver was unaware the air conditioning unit stopped working and was the reason why the individuals died,” the criminal complaint said.
The informant also stated, according to investigators, that Martinez identified the driver of the tractor trailer as “Homer.”
At the location, San Antonio police officers encountered and detained Homero Zamorano Jr., and recovered his cell phone, hat and wallet.
A search warrant of Zamorano’s phone, according to investigators, revealed a series of texts from a number identified to have been utilized by Martinez.
Documents state that Zamorano received a picture from Martinez on June 27, the day that officials responded to the scene, showing a truck loading manifest. Zamorano reportedly responded to the photo by saying “I go to the same spot.”
Officers who responded to the scene that same day “discovered multiple individuals on the ground and in nearby brush, several of whom were deceased,” according to documents. Officers were then led to the location of an individual that was observed hiding in the brush.
Martinez’s preliminary and detention hearing is set for July 18 in San Antonio.