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Suspected driver in Texas truck tragedy waives hearing, remains behind bars

The driver suspected of leaving 53 people to die in a human smuggling disaster in South Texas will remain behind bars after waiving his right to a detention hearing Wednesday.

Homero Zamorano, 45, is charged with smuggling resulting in death and could face life in prison if convicted.

Zamorano was supposed to appear in San Antonio court Wednesday morning but passed on the opportunity, local CBS affiliate KENS reported. He will remain held without bail.

Three other men have been charged in the disaster. The tractor-trailer was discovered June 27 in south San Antonio after clearing multiple border checkpoints. Dozens of people were found dead inside, and the death toll climbed to 53 as people succumbed to heat-related illnesses at nearby hospitals.

When officers arrived on the scene, Zamorano reportedly attempted to pass himself off as one of the victims. That didn’t work because checkpoint cameras captured him driving the truck.

Along with Zamorano, Christian Martinez, 28, was charged with conspiracy to smuggle people resulting in death and also faces up to life in prison.

Authorities also traced the truck to a San Antonio address and arrested two men, 23-year-old Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez and 48-year-old Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, 48, and charged them with possession of a firearm while in the U.S. illegally.

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