(CNN) — Homero Zamorano Jr., the suspected driver of the semi connected to the worst human smuggling event in the United States, appeared for the first time before a federal judge in San Antonio on Thursday.
Zamorano appeared in court, his hands and feet were tied. He was wearing a white t-shirt, gray sweatpants, and red and black tennis shoes. He appeared calm throughout the hearing, consulting with his attorneys before and during the proceedings. Zamorano did not speak much during the hearing, he only responded in a low voice to the judge’s questions with phrases like “Yes, ma’am.”
During the brief 5-minute hearing, Zamorano was read the charges he faces. At least four US Marshals were in the courtroom.
During the process, the judge asked Zamorano if he had any disabilities due to mental health issues, medication, or alcohol, and Zamorano replied “no.”
Zamorano, 45, is criminally charged with human trafficking resulting in death. According to the authorities, 53 people died. If he is convicted, he could face life in prison or death. The federal judge affirmed that Zamorano qualifies for a public defender. And given the charges he faces, he also qualifies for a second attorney.
According to the criminal complaint, Zamorano tried to flee the scene but was detained in a nearby field by San Antonio police.
When asked by CNN, Zamorano’s attorney said he did not wish to comment.
State prosecutors have filed a motion requesting that Zamorano be held without bail. Zamorano’s detention hearing is scheduled for July 6 at 11:00 am CT in federal court in San Antonio.
At least 5 Hondurans would have died
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras reported in a statement that it is presumed that at least 5 Hondurans lost their lives in the truck that was found this week with migrants in San Antonio, Texas.
The statement explained that “the verification or match of the fingerprints sent by the Foreign Ministry” of the first four alleged fatalities has not been carried out and that a fifth would have been identified – so far – only by an “identity document that was found in the trailer.
As of Thursday, US authorities had not identified the dead. Bexar County officials in Texas have said that the task of identifying the deceased is complicated because some migrants carried different identification documents.
Marlon Sorto contributed to this report.