Christian Martinez, one of six men charged in connection with the deaths of 53 migrants in a human smuggling attempt, has pleaded guilty, according to federal prosecutors. The incident, which occurred in San Antonio in June 2022, marked the deadliest human smuggling attempt from Mexico into the United States.
Martinez, 29, is the first individual to be convicted in relation to the tragedy. He faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to four smuggling-related charges. Martinez’s sentencing is scheduled for January 4.
The remaining defendants, including Homero Zamorano Jr., are still awaiting trial. Zamorano has pleaded not guilty.
The indictment alleges that the men collaborated with human smuggling operations in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, sharing resources and coordinating transportation. The truck involved in the incident was found on a remote back road and contained 67 people, including eight children. The victims, who hailed from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, had paid up to $15,000 each to be transported across the U.S. border.