A 19-year-old immigrant who died in an overheated tractor trailer was brought to the U.S. as a toddler. Frank G. Fuentes died trying to sneak back into the U.S. after he was deported to his native Guatemala.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official told the Washington Post that Fuentes was among 8 immigrants who died in the truck that was found in a Wal-Mart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. A 9th victim died at a hospital.
The driver, James Matthew Bradley, Jr., was arrested and charged with smuggling immigrants for financial gain. Bradley claims he had no idea human beings were packed into the back of his truck.
Fuentes was among dozens of illegal immigrants who paid a coyote to smuggle them into the U.S. in a poorly ventilated tractor trailer with a broken AC.
The bodies were discovered inside the truck after someone asked a Wal-Mart employee for water around 12:30 am Sunday. The employee called 911.
Dozens of people escaped or were driven away from the Wal-Mart parking lot before police arrived.
The aspiring rapper grew up in Northern Virginia and graduated from a Fairfax County high school before being convicted of assault and battery as part of the notorious MS-13 gang.
Fuentes was one of at least six Guatemalans making the hazardous trek back across the southern border into the U.S. illegally.
29 survivors were taken from the truck and transported to area hospitals for treatment of heat stroke and dehydration. Many have been released, though their whereabouts are unknown.
Mexico’s government said Wednesday that 24 of the 29 survivors were Mexican nationals.