Eight found dead in Texas truck, human traffickers blamed

San Antonio found a trailer full of at least 38 people at a Walmart parking lot early Sunday

Investigators say the tractor-trailer was parked outside of a Walmart in San Antonio where temperatures topped 100 degrees on Saturday.

Detectives have described the "horrific tragedy" in San Antonio as a case of human trafficking.

A store employee phoned police and asked them to do a welfare check after a man who was in the large vehicle asked the worker for water.

Surveillance footage showed that several vehicles had entered Walmart's parking lot before police were alerted to the case and picked up "lots of folks that were in that trailer that survived the trip", McManus said. The Department of Homeland Security has also joined the investigation. "A search of the surrounding area was also conducted to attempt to locate any patients that may have attempted to flee the scene". Firefighters were called to the scene around 12:30 a.m. local time (1:30 a.m. EDT) and found the dead people inside the wheeler.

McManus said they are investigating where the trailer came from.

The air conditioner was not working in the trailer.

As it was, Hood said, 30 were hospitalized - 17 in critical condition.

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First responders arrive to transport people found in a semi truck trailer.

Hood said it was a mass casualty incident. He said the truck driver had been arrested.

Authorities used helicopters to rush some of the injured to seven area hospitals, Hood said. "Each one of those persons has a number and a tag...we do know there were two school-age children who were transported".

"By any standard, the horrific crime uncovered last night ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished", Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement.

"This is not an isolated incident. this happens all the time", McManus said. "Fortunately we came across this one", McManus said. The driver was sentenced to almost 34 years in prison.

Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) criticized SAPD for calling the federal government before involving migrant support organizations such as itself.

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