According to reports, some 46 bodies were found in and around the trailer, along with 16 still-alive people who were rushed to local hospitals for recovery. The incident is believed to be a human trafficking effort gone wrong.
Just before 6 p.m. on Monday, a city worker on Quintana Road near Cassin Road, located in a rural and secluded area of southwest San Antonio, happened to be passing by and heard a cry for help, according to Police Chief William McManus.
When officers arrived on the scene, they immediately noticed one body on the ground outside the trailer, the back of which was partially open.
"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 the 16 people who were taken to the hospital, 12 were adults and four were children. According to Fire Chief Charles Hood, their bodies were hot to the touch and dehydrated, as there was no water anywhere to be found in the trailer.
"They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion," Hood is quoted as saying. "It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig."
In a statement, Mayor Ron Nirenberg urged area residents to "think compassionately" and to "pray for the deceased, the ailing, and their families at this moment."
"Migrants seeking asylum should always be treated as a humanitarian crisis, but this evening we're facing a horrific human tragedy," he added.
Three people have been taken into custody over the matter, which sadly is not the first time this kind of thing has happened in Texas, as well as other states abutting the southern border.
According to the Associated Press (AP), big rig smuggling operations have been happening since the early 1990s in border states. San Diego and El Paso were among the busiest corridors for illegal crossings, though things changed after 9/11 when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed.
Ever since then, smuggling operations have taken more dangerous routes through difficult terrain, not to mention the increased costs associated with these more advanced types of operations.
Concerning this latest incident, it appears that perhaps something went wrong with the big rig as it traversed the more rural back roads of southern Texas. This is possibly why the trailer was left abandoned, and the people inside it were left to die.
Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) is working with the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) to get to the bottom of what happened here and who is responsible for it.
"HSI continues its enforcement efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities," the unit announced.
"We will continue to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of those smuggled. To report suspicious activity, we encourage people to call the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. All calls are kept confidential."
It turns out that Gov. Greg Abbott is partially to blame for this because of a change he made back in April to end state police inspections of box trucks coming across the Texas border from Mexico.
Abbott, meanwhile, is blaming Joe Biden for the deaths.
More related news can be found at Migrants.news.