9 PEOPLE FOUND DEAD IN TRACTOR TRAILER DISCOVERED AT WALMART

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SAN ANTONIO: At least nine people died after being crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, authorities said Sunday in what they described as an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

The driver was arrested, and nearly 20 others rescued from the rig were hospitalized in dire condition, many with extreme dehydration and heatstroke, officials said.

We’re looking at a human-trafficking crime,” Police Chief William McManus said. He called it “a horrific tragedy.”

Authorities were called to the San Antonio parking lot late Saturday night or early Sunday and found eight dead inside the truck. A ninth victim died at the hospital, said Liz Johnson, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The victims “were very hot to the touch. So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

It was just the latest smuggling-by-truck operation to end in tragedy. In one of the worst cases on record in the U.S., 19 immigrants locked inside a stifling rig died in Victoria, Texas, in 2003.

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