The family of a Mexican farm worker who died in a trailer in the San Antonio migrant tragedy reportedly paid more than GBP 10,000 for his safe arrival.
Julio Lopez, aged 33, was promised a trouble-free journey to the USA, as well as legal residency, before he died of asphyxiation along with 52 other migrants.
His wife, Adriana Gonzalez, said: “They said it was a VIP trip.”
This was after Lopez had accepted an invitation from his mother in Louisiana to move to the US during a phone call last month in order to afford the monthly treatments costing MXN 4,000 (GBP 162) for his autistic four-year-old son.
Lopez then left his hometown of La Trinitaria, in Mexico’s impoverished Chiapas state, and travelled to the north-eastern city of Monterrey, where he met with a human trafficker known as Luis ‘El Blanquito’ (White Boy).
Lopez reportedly paid the trafficker MXN 250,000 (GBP 10,100) for the journey, as well as US residency papers.
After they reached the border city of Reynosa, Lopez sailed via speedboat across the Rio Grande, a 1,885-mile-long river that partly forms the Mexico-United States border.
He then advised his wife that the ‘coyotes’ had taken their phones away so border control could not track their movements.
After not hearing from her husband for several days, Gonzalez phoned her mother-in-law, who reassured her that the family man was “in safe hands”.
Government employees then contacted Gonzalez to ask for her husband’s identifying features.
A tattoo on his arm confirmed that he was one of the victims who died in the smuggling tragedy late last month.