8 found dead in tractor-trailer parked outside Texas Walmart

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The truck may have held up to 100 people before it was abandoned in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, officials said.

When police arrived on the scene around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, they searched the trailer and found people with varying injuries.

According to the Guardian, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the "horrific tragedy" was the result of "a human trafficking crime", and that the Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation. "So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water", he said. "Thirteen victims were taken to five other area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries", according to a statement from SAPD. Hood also said all of the deceased were adult males. Store surveillance video showed that a number of vehicles had come and picked up survivors from the trailer prior to officials discovering it, so it's possible a lot more than 38 people had been inside.

Among the 38 individuals that were found inside, at least two were school-age children.

He called it "very sad". Measures to harden worldwide borders encourage would-be migrants to turn to smugglers and fear of deportation deters whistle-blowing, they said.

"The driver is in custody and will be charged". The employee gave the man water and then called for help.

Owner Brian Pyle told The Washington Post that the Louisville, Kentucky-based driver owned the truck and was on his first trip.

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Hood said it was a mass casualty incident.

"We treat it like you would do an airline crash", said fire chief Charles Hood. In one of the deadliest cases on record in the United States, 19 immigrants locked inside a stifling rig died in Victoria, Texas, in 2003.

It was not immediately clear how long the truck had been in the parking lot, and police were working to determine who owns it.

According to McManus, the victims "will be investigated by ICE" after they are treated.

While investigators did not know where the truck had driven from, the police chief said such operations were routine in the area - often going undiscovered in the darkness.

They had been transported inside "a refrigeration truck with no refrigeration", he told CNN. The organization also notes that many migrants are abused during the smuggling process and made to endure severe conditions, or even die.

He added, "This happens quite frequently. fortunately there are people who survived, but this happens all the time".