FOUR people are dead and three others are critically injured following a fatal chase involving Border Patrol agents, suspected human smugglers and migrants.
Officials said the high-speed chase unfolded Thursday morning in the town of Encinal, Texas – less than 40 miles from the border city of Laredo.
The chase turned fatal after the suspects lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the back of an 18-wheeler on Highway 44 and Interstate 35, the Department of Public Safety said.
Public safety officials said four people inside the white Jeep were killed, and another three were critically injured.
The names and ages of the victims have yet to be released.
The latest tragedy involving migrants comes days after 53 undocumented immigrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday.
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The victims included 27 migrants from Mexico, seven from Guatemala, 14 Hondurans and two from El Salvador. They include 39 men and 12 women.
Most of the victims were male, with 13 females among those dead.
Eleven people – including minors – remain hospitalized.
The horror discovery was made after a worker heard a cry for help – leading to "stacks of bodies" being found inside the vehicle, the San Antonio Police Department said.
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San Antonio has recorded temperatures of 100F (37.8C) or more on 17 days this month.
It's estimated that the temperature inside the vehicle was around 150F (65C).
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters that the victims were “hot to the touch”.
He said: “We’re not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies in there.”
Hood revealed that there were no signs of water and it didn’t appear the truck had air conditioning.
Four suspects were taken into custody following the deadly discovery.
The truck's alleged driver, Homero Zamorano Jr, 45, a Texas native, was arrested near the scene and charged with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death.
A second suspect, Christian Martinez, 28, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with a single count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.
Two other suspects, Mexican nationals Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez, were charged on Tuesday in US federal court with being illegal immigrants in possession of firearms.
'TRAGIC LOSS OF LIFE'
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas described the discovery as a "tragic loss of life".
He wrote: "I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of life today and am praying for those still fighting for their lives.
"Far too many lives have been lost as individuals – including families, women, and children – take this dangerous journey."
Joaquin Castro, who represents Texas' 20th congressional district, said: "This horrible tragedy is a reminder that we need a safe, orderly way for people to claim asylum."
But, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has claimed the “open borders policy” of the Biden administration led to the horror event.
It is one of the deadliest incidents involving migrants attempting to cross into the US from Mexico in recent decades.
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In 2003, 19 migrants were found in a heated tractor-trailer while they traveled to Houston.
In 2017, 10 migrants died after being trapped inside a parked truck at a Walmart in San Antonio.
More to follow…For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online.
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