By Zero Hedge
Officials in San Antonio, Texas found 46 bodies in and around an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer, and 16 others were taken to local hospitals in what is presumed to be human trafficking gone wrong.
Shortly before 6pm on Monday a city worker on a remote road heard a cry for help, according to Police Chief Willian McManus. When officers arrived on scene, they found one body on the ground outside the trailer, which was partially open, according to the Associated Press.
The dead range in age from teens to young adults, and are believed to have succumbed to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as the trailer had no air conditioning and no water as temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.
Of those taken to the hospital 12 were adults and 4 were children – who Fire Chief Charles Hood said were hot to the touch and dehydrated, while no water was found in the trailer.
“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” said Hood. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”
There were “stacks of bodies” Hood added.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the scene “nothing short of a horrific human tragedy.”
Since authorities presume that the trailer was part of a human trafficking operation to bring people into the United States illegally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Investigations unit has taken point on the case.
Authorities took three people into custody.
Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in U.S. border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.
Before that, people paid small fees to mom-and-pop operators to get them across a largely unguarded border. As crossing became exponentially more difficult after the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S., migrants were led through more dangerous terrain and paid thousands of dollars more. -AP