Distributor:  Scorpion TV
Length:  59 minutes
Date:  2010
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Color/BW:  Color
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Train to Nowhere

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An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of 11 immigrants found locked inside a railcar in Denision, Iowa.

Train to Nowhere

When the bodies of 11 Central Americans and Mexicans were found inside a freight car in Denison, Iowa, the nation took notice. Reporters descended on the small farming community, searching for information about how and why this group ended up inside a locked railcar, where they would die horrific deaths.

Train to Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation offers an honest, yet compassionate look at the 2002 deaths of the 11 undocumented immigrants. It takes the viewers from the streets of southern Texas, to the hills of a Guatemalan farm, to the Iowa town where the bodies were found. The film is part crime story, part immigration perspective. The film breaks free of the standard immigration story, however, in examining the case from various viewpoints: that of one victim's New York brother, a long-time immigration agent, and a train conductor imprisoned for working with the smugglers who locked the railcar to throw off U.S. Border Patrol inspectors.

Viewers will see beyond the superficial levels of the people involved in the story and understand the complexities of their personalities and the situation. The older brother from Guatemala, once an undocumented immigrant himself, struggles with anger and, sometimes, guilt. Even though he urged his little brother to remain in Central America, his own financial success showed the younger man what could be achieved. The immigration agent, who traveled north as a boy with his migrant farm worker grandfather and father, believes in strict border control yet often encounters those who question his loyalty to the United States because of his Mexican heritage. The former train conductor, once paid to help slip people into the United States by train, argues he was trying to help the immigrants gain a chance at better lives.

This is a crime story that also illustrates the complexity of the immigration issue.

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Train to Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation
Foreign Master Script - Updated June 2012
By Colleen Bradford Krantz
Copyright Colleen Krantz
10:00:37:21           >> WE BEGIN WITH LATE-BREAKING NEWS. \E INVESTIGATORS STILL ON THE SCENE AT THIS HOUR OF A GRISLY DISCOVERY. \E ELEVEN BODIES HAVE BEEN FOUND INSIDE A COVERED GRAIN CAR IN DENISON, IOWA. \E
10:00:50:03    >> POLICE FOUND ELEVEN BODIES INSIDE A TRAINCAR THEY THINK MAY HAVE BEEN IN THERE SINCE JUNE. \E
10:00:56:08    >> WORKERS WERE JUST GOING ABOUT THEIR NORMAL BUSINESS INSPECTING GRAIN CARS, AND THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY DISCOVERED. \E
10:01:10:22    >> Narrator: IT WAS OCTOBER 14, 2002. \E  THE NEWS THAT THRUST THE QUIET FARMING COMMUNITY OF DENISON, IOWA, INTO THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. \E A GROUP OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS HAD ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE LOCKED INSIDE A RAILCAR IN HOPES OF ENTERING THE UNITED STATES UNDETECTED. \E  
10:01:32:04    >> Friedrichs: THE LOCALS WERE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT THE CONNECTION, IF THERE WAS ANY CONNECTION AT ALL TO DENISON AND WHY IT ENDED UP THERE AND WHERE IT STARTED OUT AND WHY IT ALL HAPPENED. \E  THERE WAS JUST A LOT OF -- \E WHEN IT HAPPENS IN YOUR BACKYARD LIKE THAT, YOU WONDER. \E YOU JUST HAVE THAT NEED TO KNOW THING. \E  
10:01:52:00    >> Narrator: WHEN A 100-CAR TRAIN ROLLED INTO DENISON, IOWA, THE NIGHT BEFORE, FEW HAD PAID MUCH ATTENTION. \E  AT FIRST, ONE RAILCAR, A GRAIN HOPPER MARKED AS GVSR 518018, LOOKED LIKE JUST ANOTHER LINK IN ANOTHER TRAIN WAITING ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. \E  IT WASN’T UNTIL A LOCAL GRAIN ELEVATOR WORKER MADE A GRISLY DISCOVERY WHILE PREPARING TO LOAD A TRAIN WITH CORN THAT THE TOWN, STATE, AND NATION TOOK NOTICE. \E  
10:02:20:00    >>B. J. SCHANY, THE ASSISTANT MANAGER WHO CHECKED THE CARS FOR DEBRIS SUCH AS MOLDING GRAIN, WAS HAVING A ROUTINE WORKDAY UNTIL MID-AFTERNOON. \E  ALTHOUGH SCHANY DIDN’T WANT TO TALK ON CAMERA, HE STILL CLEARLY REMEMBERS WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO DISCOVER THE BODIES. \E  
10:02:36:20    >> THEY WERE ON THE BOTTOM OF THE SLOPE. \E  I COULD SEE THE SKULLS AND BONES, BUT IT DIDN’T SEEM REAL. \E IT WAS KIND OF DISBELIEF. \E  IT WAS CLOSE TO HALLOWEEN TIME: I WAS THINKING IT WAS A HALLOWEEN JOKE. \E  I KNOW I LOOKED AROUND TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANYBODY WATCHING ME. \E BY THAT TIME YOU COULD START TO SEE THEY WERE REALLY DECOMPOSED. \E  THERE WAS NO FLESH BUT YOU COULD SEE DARK PIECES OF CLOTHING. \E  EVERYTHING WAS A CLUMP ON THE BOTTOM. \E  THAT’S WHEN IT SUNK IN THAT THEY WERE BODIES. \E  
10:03:05:05    >> Narrator: SEVENTY MILES AWAY IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA, THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE’S ASSISTANT DISTRICT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATIONS IN IOWA AND NEBRASKA GOT A PHONE CALL THAT WOULD PULL HIM INTO A CASE THAT WOULD FOREVER STAND APART IN A LONG CAREER. \E  
10:03:21:10    >> Martinez: BACK OCTOBER 14 OF 2002, IT WAS ON A MONDAY. \E  IT WAS A HOLIDAY, COLUMBUS DAY. \E  I HAD GONE TO WORK AT THE OFFICE, AND I WAS GETTING BACK TO MY APARTMENT CLOSE TO 6:30, AROUND 6:20 OR SO I REMEMBER. \E  AND I RECEIVED A CALL AS I GOT OUT OF THE CAR FROM MY SUPERVISOR, WHO WAS A DISTRICT DIRECTOR, AND HE ASKED ME IF I HAD HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT SOME BODIES, HE SAID, SOME PEOPLE THAT HAD BEEN FOUND IN A TRAIN IN IOWA. \E  
10:03:54:03    >> Narrator: INVESTIGATORS QUICKLY BEGAN TO PIECE THE PUZZLE TOGETHER. \E  THE TRAIN HAD COME FROM MEXICO. \E  THE BODIES WERE LIKELY THOSE OF MEXICANS OR CENTRAL AMERICANS TRYING TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES ILLEGALLY. \E  
10:04:06:26    >> Martinez: BY MIDNIGHT WE HAD A WHOLE LOT OF BACKGROUND ON THAT TRAIN, YOU KNOW, WHEN AND WHERE IT HAD ACTUALLY COME INTO THE UNITED STATES. \E  THAT TRAIN HAD BEEN IN MEXICO, YOU KNOW, AND IT CAME IN THROUGH THE PORT OF BROWNSVILLE DOWN IN SOUTH TEXAS. \E  
10:04:22:13    >> Narrator: REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MEDIA DESCENDED ON DENISON. \E  
10:04:27:08    >> Amerena: I THINK THAT’S WHAT MADE IT SO TRAGIC, YOU KNOW. \E THEY COULDN’T GET OUT. \E  
10:04:37:00    >> Acevedo: I WAS DRIVING THIS TRUCK FULL OF GRAVEL GOING TO ONE OF MY CUSTOMERS WHEN I WAS LISTENING TO CBS NEWS AND I HEARD THAT THEY FOUND A TRAIN IN IOWA FULL OF BODIES, YOU KNOW, ELEVEN BODIES, WHICH MADE SENSE TO ME BECAUSE IT WAS ELEVEN PEOPLE DISAPPEARED WITH MY BROTHER. \E  SO I WAS IN SHOCK, DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. \E  I FELT SOMETHING: \E  I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS, BUT LIKE A BAD FEELING. \E  SO WHAT I DID WAS CALL MY WIFE, AND MY WIFE CALLED HER PASTOR FROM HER CHURCH, AND HE CALLED THE AUTHORITIES IN IOWA. \E  AND IN ABOUT FIVE OR TEN MINUTES, I GOT A CALL FROM THE FBI, AND THAT’S WHEN THE WHOLE THING TOOK PLACE AND STARTED. \E  
10:05:24:10    >> Narrator: ELISEO’S BROTHER, BYRON ACEVEDO, AND THE OTHERS TRAPPED INSIDE THE RAILCAR WOULD HAVE ENDURED A HORRIFIC DEATH, AS DESCRIBED BY UNIVERSITY OF IOWA PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR MARK BLUMBERG. \E
10:05:37:00    >> Blumberg: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE WORST SITUATION A PERSON COULD BE IN, IN A HIGH-TEMPERATURE ENVIRONMENT. \E  THERE WAS JUST NO OPPORTUNITY FOR ANYTHING. \E  ALL OF YOUR OPTIONS HAVE BEEN FORECLOSED. \E  EVEN IF THEY HAD SOME WATER, THE WATER WOULD HAVE BEEN GONE THROUGH VERY QUICKLY. \E  WITHOUT THE VENTILATION, WITHOUT ANY WIND, EVEN IF THERE WERE ONE -- \E YOU KNOW, IF THE TRAIN HAD BEEN MOVING AND THERE HAD BEEN REASONABLE VENTILATION, THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FORESTALL SOME OF THESE CHANGES IN TEMPERATURE, BUT EVERY TIME THE TRAIN STOPPED, IT WOULD HAVE JUST BEEN HELLISH. \E
10:06:16:20    >> Narrator: SCHANY, THE GRAIN WORKER WHO FOUND THE BODIES, HAD INITIALLY IMAGINED THAT THE SKULLS BELONGED TO SOME GUN-TOTING GANGSTERS FROM HALF A COUNTRY AWAY. \E  HE ASSUMED ON THAT SUNNY OCTOBER AFTERNOON THAT THE BODIES HAD BEEN DUMPED IN THE GRAIN HOPPER. \E  AS SCHANY SAT ATOP THE RAILCAR LOOKING INSIDE WITH DISBELIEF, IT NEVER CROSSED HIS MIND THAT ELEVEN PEOPLE WOULD WILLINGLY CLIMB INSIDE THE RAILCAR, THAT ELEVEN PEOPLE HAD VISIONS OF LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM AND SAW THIS RAILCAR AS THEIR ONLY TICKET THERE, A RAILCAR THAT COULD NOT BE OPENED FROM THE INSIDE ONCE LATCHED. \E  
10:07:06:15    HUNDREDS OF MILES TO THE SOUTH, BEYOND MEXICO AND FAR INTO GUATEMALA, A MOTHER AND FATHER WAITED THAT OCTOBER DAY FOR BYRON ACEVEDO, THE YOUNGEST OF THEIR NINE CHILDREN, TO CALL. \E  THEY WAITED FOR THE PHONE TO RING AS THEY HAD FOR FOUR MONTHS. \E  THE WAITING PROVED TO BE FUTILE. \E  
01:07:30:10    >> Acevedo: I AM THE FIRST ONE IN THE FAMILY. \E  BYRON WAS THE LAST ONE. \E  HE WAS THE YOUNGEST. \E  WHEN I LEFT, \E HE WASN’T EVEN BORN. \E  I DIDN’T GO BACK TO GUATEMALA UNTIL FOURTEEN YEARS LATER, WHEN I FINALLY GOT MY GREEN CARD. \E  THAT’S WHEN I MET HIM. \E  HE WAS STILL A LITTLE BABY WHEN I MET HIM. \E BUT AFTER THAT I KEPT GOING BASICALLY EVERY YEAR AS HE WAS GETTING OLDER AND OLDER. \E
10:08:04:10    >> [ SPEAKING IN SPANISH ] \E  
10:08.37:12    >> Acevedo: ALL MY BROTHERS WERE OUT OF THE HOUSE, SISTERS -- \E  EVERYBODY WAS MARRIED SO HE WAS THE ONLY ONE THERE. \E  HE WAS THE MAN OF THE HOUSE, YOU KNOW. \E MY PARENTS WERE OLDER SO HE WAS, LIKE, KEEPING UP THE FARM, THE ANIMALS. \E  
10:08:52:13    >> Narrator: IT WAS THE CROPS \E – COFFEE, CORN, AND SOYBEANS – \E AND THE SALE OF MALE CALVES THAT ONCE BROUGHT IN THE BULK OF THE FAMILY’S MODEST FARM INCOME. \E  AS LANDOWNERS, THE ACEVEDOS ARE BETTER OFF THAN MANY OTHERS. \E  SOME GUATEMALANS ARE FORCED TO ACCEPT WORK AS THEY CAN FIND IT, PERHAPS EARNING AS LITTLE AS $4 A DAY IN THE FIELDS. \E  A SMALL BUT GROWING PERCENTAGE OF GUATEMALANS DEPEND ON MONEY SENT HOME FROM FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE LEFT FOR THE UNITED STATES. \E  BYRON’S OLDEST BROTHER, ELISEO, HAD SENT MONEY HOME FOR MANY YEARS AFTER LEAVING FOR THE UNITED STATES AND ULTIMATELY BECAME A BUSINESS OWNER IN NEW YORK STATE. \E  BUT ELISEO NEVER WANTED HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO FACE THE SAME DANGERS HE FACED WHEN HE FIRST ENTERED THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY. \E  
10:09:43:02    >> Acevedo: I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY VERY YOUNG. \E  I WENT THROUGH A LOT, A VERY TOUGH EXPERIENCE FOR ME. \E  
10:09:53:13    >> Narrator: ALONZO MARTINEZ, WITH WHAT WAS THEN THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICES, HAD SPENT A CAREER LISTENING TO THESE STORIES OF HARD JOURNEYS TAKEN BY DESPERATE PEOPLE IN DESPERATE SITUATIONS. \E  
10:10:05:09    >> Martinez: YOU GET CALLOUSED TO A LOT OF THE STORIES WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH PEOPLE OVER AND OVER, YOU KNOW, AFTER SO MANY PEOPLE, HUNDREDS AND EVEN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT YOU DEAL WITH THAT ARE ARRESTED OR THAT YOU TALK TO. \E  YOU HEAR THE SAME STORIES, THE SAD STORIES: \E FAMILY, POOR, HUNGRY, SO ON AND SO FORTH. \E  YOU HAVE TO LEAVE IT BECAUSE IF YOU TOOK THAT HOME WITH YOU EVERY DAY, YOU COULDN’T WORK ANYMORE. \E YOU’D BECOME AN ADVOCATE. \E
10:10:40:24    >> Narrator: BACK IN IOWA, IMMIGRATION INVESTIGATOR MARTINEZ WAS ASSIGNED TO OVERSEE THE GROUP OF NEARLY 20 FEDERAL AND STATE AGENTS INVESTIGATING THE DEATHS OF THE ELEVEN. \E  
10:10:50:19    MARTINEZ, WHO HAD FIRST SERVED IN THE ARMY, HELD A VARIETY OF JOBS WITH BORDER PATROL AND INS FOR A QUARTER OF A CENTURY. \E
10:10:58:08    MARTINEZ WAS NOT THE TYPICAL BORDER PATROL AGENT WHEN HE WAS HIRED IN 1977 TO PATROL THE DESERT IN ARIZONA. \E  
10:11:04:28    >> Martinez: WHEN I STARTED IN THE BORDER PATROL, THERE WEREN’T A WHOLE LOT OF MEXICANS, LATINOS OR EVEN ANY - I DON’T LIKE TO USE THE WORD HISPANIC. \E I’M GOING TO SAY MEXICAN BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I WAS. \E  NOT FROM MEXICO, BUT THAT’S MY HERITAGE. \E  SO MANY TIMES YOU HAD TO PROVE YOURSELF TO YOUR PEERS BECAUSE THERE IS THAT DOUBT: \E  CAN YOU DO IT: \E WHERE IS YOUR ALLEGIANCE TO? \E
10:11:32:02    I TOOK AN OATH TO SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, AND I TOOK THAT SERIOUSLY. \E
10:11:44:09    >> Narrator: MARTINEZ EMBRACES HIS NATION AND ITS LAWS, BUT IS ALSO PROUD OF HIS ANCESTRAL HOME AND OF THE GRANDFATHER WHO LEFT MEXICO IN THE 1920S AROUND THE AGE OF SIXTEEN TO WORK FOR THE RAILROAD IN TEXAS. \E  MARTINEZ SEES HOW HIS GRANDFATHER HAD SOME THINGS IN COMMON WITH ELISEO ACEVEDO. \E  
10:12:01:18    >> Martinez: HE CAME HERE LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, NOT UNLIKE MY OWN FAMILY, MY ROOTS. \E  MY GRANDFATHER STARTED MIGRATING NORTH TO WORK THE CROPS. \E  EVERY SUMMER HE WOULD HEAD NORTH, PARTICULARLY UP TO IDAHO. \E MY GRANDFATHER AND EVERYBODY ELSE USED TO WORK OUT IN THE FIELDS \E  
10:12:22:28    >> Narrator: AS A CHILD, MARTINEZ ENJOYED PLAYING IN THE FIELDS WHILE THE ADULTS WORKED. \E  THE ADULTS, HOWEVER, WERE DETERMINED THAT THEIR CHILDREN WOULDN’T BE PICKING CHERRIES OR TOMATOES WHEN THEY WERE GROWN. \E  
10:12:33:28    HIS PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS WERE ALWAYS PROUD OF HIS CAREER WITH BORDER PATROL. \E  MARTINEZ BELIEVES THAT ONE OF HIS GRANDMOTHERS CAME TO THE UNITED STATES ILLEGALLY, BUT IT DIDN’T CHANGE HOW HE DID HIS JOB WITH BORDER PATROL AND LATER IMMIGRATION. \E  BY THE FALL OF 2002, \E MARTINEZ WAS LEADING INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING ANYTHING FROM DRUG SMUGGLING TO THE SMUGGLING OF PEOPLE BY SO-CALLED COYOTES. \E  
10:12:58:00    >> Martinez: EVERY NOW AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE THE YOUNGER MALES WHO WOULD LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT MY SKIN COLOR AND LOOK AT NAME TAG AND THEY’D SEE MARTINEZ ON THAT AND I SPOKE SPANISH. \E AND THEY WOULD SAY, WELL, YOU’RE NO DIFFERENT THAN I AM SO WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US? \E MY RESPONSE TO THOSE PEOPLE -- \E A LOT OF TIMES IF THEY WERE WITH OLDER PEOPLE, THE OLDER GENTLEMEN WOULD RESPOND FOR ME AND SAY, “HE’S DOING HIS JOB. \E  YOU NEED TO BE QUIET AND JUST DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU.” \E IF THEY INSISTED OR THERE WASN’T ANYONE ELSE THERE TO ANSWER FOR ME, I WOULD TELL THEM, “WE ARE NOT THE SAME. \E  I’M A U.S. CITIZEN. \E  I’M AN AMERICAN FIRST AND FOREMOST, AND I’M DOING MY JOB. \E  YOU ARE HERE ILLEGALLY. \E  YOU VIOLATED THE LAW.” \E  
10:13:45:09    >> Narrator: IN TOWNS AND CITIES ALL ALONG THE U.S./MEXICO BORDER, THIS BATTLE TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES IS PART OF DAILY LIFE, A BACK-AND-FORTH RITUAL PERFORMED EACH YEAR BY THOSE WHO DON’T HAVE THE PROPER DOCUMENTS TO ENTER LEGALLY. \E  A MAN NAMED ARNULFO FLORES, JR., GREW UP IN THIS ENVIRONMENT IN SOUTHERN TEXAS, WHERE ADMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES HAD ESSENTIALLY BECOME A BLACK-MARKET COMMODITY, BOUGHT AND SOLD ILLEGALLY. \E  PERHAPS THIS FAMILIARITY MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR FLORES, WHO WORKED FOR UNION PACIFIC AS A CONDUCTOR, TO JOIN IN THE BUSINESS OF SMUGGLING HUMANS. \E  BUT IT WAS A FRIENDSHIP WITH JUAN FERNANDO LICEA-CEDILLO, A SMUGGLER FROM MEXICO KNOWN ON THE STREETS OF HARLINGEN, TEXAS, AS “CACAHUATE,” THAT PLACED THE OPPORTUNITY IN HIS LAP. \E  
10:14:32:08    >> Flores: WHEN I MET HIM, I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING AT THE TIME WHEN I MET HIM. \E  I MET HIM HERE AND THERE AT A FRIEND’S HOUSE. \E  WE USED TO GO OVER AND MAKE SOME BARBECUE OR SOMETHING, KIND OF HANG OUT, AND I MET HIM THERE. \E  HE WAS ACTUALLY A REAL NICE GUY. \E  HE WAS A YOUNG KID. \E HE WAS A YOUNGER GUY. \E  ALWAYS LAUGHING, \E ALWAYS JOKING, \E STUFF LIKE THAT. \E  NEVER REALLY SERIOUS. \E
10:14:56:08    >> Narrator: EVENTUALLY, THE SMUGGLER, LICEA, HAD A PROPOSAL FOR FLORES: \E LICEA WOULD CUT FLORES IN ON THE PROFITS FROM HIS SMUGGLING OPERATION IF FLORES WOULD SHARE UNION PACIFIC’S TRAIN SCHEDULES, SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESS OF GETTING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ON THE TRAINS. \E  
10:15:12:18    >> Flores: SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE, HE FELT COMFORTABLE AND WE TALKED ABOUT IT AND ONE THING LED TO THE OTHER. \E WHAT HE WANTED FROM ME WAS A LITTLE MORE PRECISE TIMING. \E  THAT WAY HE COULD HAVE HIS PEOPLE SET, AND IF THE TRAIN WAS LEAVING AT, LET’S SAY, 11:00 AT NIGHT, HE COULD BE THERE MAYBE THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE TO AVOID DETECTION OR AVOID BEING CAPTURED BY THE U.S. BORDER PATROL. \E  
10:15:34:22    >> Narrator: MANY OF THE PEOPLE LICEA WAS HELPING WERE ALREADY TECHNICALLY INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. \E  HARLINGEN IS NEARLY 30 MILES FROM THE BORDER, BUT THOSE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WHO HAVE MADE IT THERE DON’T FEEL THAT THEY ARE QUITE IN YET. \E  INNER CHECKPOINTS SET UP ALONG MAJOR HIGHWAYS CREATE A SORT OF SECOND BORDER THAT MAKES REACHING THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES MORE DIFFICULT. \E  THE TRAINS WERE ONE WAY LICEA AND HIS PARTNERS USED TO GET PEOPLE PAST THOSE CHECKPOINTS. \E  
10:16:03:16    GABE BUSTAMANTE, THEN PART OF AN ANTI-SMUGGLING UNIT THAT INVESTIGATED THE DEATHS OF THE ELEVEN, HAS SEEN HOW INFORMAL SMUGGLING NETWORKS CROP UP TO MOVE PEOPLE THROUGH CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO AND ACROSS THE BORDER. \E  OTHER SMUGGLERS TAKE THEM FROM THE U.S. BORDER TOWNS TO THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES. \E  
10:16:22:20    >> Bustamante: THE ALIENS WERE RECRUITED IN MEXICO CITY, AND THEN BROUGHT DOWN CLOSER INTO THE INTERIOR OF MEXICO. \E  THEY SORT OF ARE SHUTTLED DOWN HERE TO THE BORDER TO GET SMUGGLED BY THE SMUGGLERS ON THE U.S. SIDE THAT KNOW THE AREA AND KNOW, IN THIS PARTICULAR THIS CASE, THE TRAIN SCHEDULES. \E  THEY WERE USING THE TRAIN TO SMUGGLE THESE PEOPLE PAST THE BORDER PATROL CHECKPOINT HERE IN SOUTH TEXAS. \E  
10:16:54:02    >> Flores: FIRST YOU GOT TO MAKE IT INTO THE UNITED STATES OR TO TEXAS. \E  AFTER TEXAS, YOU GOT TO MAKE IT PAST THE CHECKPOINT, WHICH IS SARITA CHECKPOINT, BUT THE CHECKPOINT IN SARITA IS DIFFERENT. \E  FOR THE RAILROAD IT’S NOT A PHYSICAL PLACE, AS FAR AS IT IS FOR ANYONE DRIVING AN AUTOMOBILE. \E  THEY’RE JUST KIND OF SET BY WHEREVER THE BORDER PATROL DECIDES TO STOP YOU. \E  
10:17:16:15    >> Narrator: OVER TIME, OTHER SMUGGLERS BEGAN TO RELY MORE ON LICEA, THE MAN KNOWN AS CACAHUATE, BECAUSE HE HAD ACCESS TO THIS INSIDE INFORMATION ON THE TRAIN SCHEDULES. \E  
10:17:27:12    >> Martinez: WE WERE ABLE TO IDENTIFY THE SMUGGLERS, THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THEM THERE, AND WE IDENTIFIED SO MANY OF THEM. \E  I TOLD YOU EARLIER THERE WERE CERTAIN CELLS. \E  THESE CELLS WERE ALL SO CLOSE TOGETHER THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY HELPED EACH OTHER OUT. \E  THEY WOULD EITHER SELL PEOPLE FROM ONE SMUGGLER TO ANOTHER OR, IN CACAHUATE’S CASE, HIS STATUS WAS HIGHER BECAUSE HE HAD SOMEBODY ON THE INSIDE WITH THE RAILROAD. \E  AND HE COULD CALL THE OTHERS AND SAY, “HEY, GET YOUR PEOPLE READY BECAUSE A TRAIN IS GOING TO COME BY AT A CERTAIN TIME AND A CERTAIN PLACE SO WE CAN PUT THEM IN THERE. \E
10:18:01:13    >> Narrator: THE ARRANGEMENT ALSO BENEFITTED FLORES, THE TRAIN CONDUCTOR. \E  DEPENDING ON HOW MANY PEOPLE MADE IT PAST THE INTERIOR CHECKPOINTS ON THE TRAINS, FLORES RECEIVED AN AVERAGE OF $50 PER PERSON. \E  
10:18:13:10    >> Flores: YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES IT REALLY WASN’T A SET AMOUNT. \E IT WAS LIKE HERE’S A COUPLE HUNDRED BUCKS OR WHATNOT, YOU KNOW. \E
10:18:19:10    >> Narrator: FEDERAL COURT DOCUMENTS SAY THAT LICEA, THE COYOTE DESCRIBED BY THE GOVERNMENT AS THE RINGLEADER, RECEIVED MORE THAN $162,000 BETWEEN JANUARY 2001 AND JULY 2002 VIA WESTERN UNION, A COMPANY OFTEN USED BY THE SMUGGLERS TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS FROM RELATIVES OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. \E  
10:18:39:15    >> Flores: SOMETIMES HE DID BRING IN SOME MONEY. \E  HE DID HAVE LOTS OF MONEY, BUT A LOT OF TIMES, I GUESS IT’S PART OF THE EXCITEMENT. \E  
10:19:07:10    >> Narrator: BYRON ACEVEDO, WHO HAD BEEN RUNNING HIS PARENTS’ FARM IN GUATEMALA SINCE AGE SIXTEEN, WANTED HIS OWN CHANCE AT EXCITEMENT. \E  HE WANTED TO SEE MORE OF THE WORLD, SOMETHING BEYOND HIS LITTLE CORNER OF GUATEMALA. \E  HE HAD WATCHED AS HIS EIGHT OLDER SIBLINGS, ONE BY ONE, HAD LEFT HOME, SOME TO THE UNITED STATES, OTHERS TO OTHER PARTS OF GUATEMALA. \E  
10:19:31:21    >> [ SPEAKING IN SPANISH ] \E
10:19:48:26    >> Narrator: HIS WORK ON THE FARM KEPT HIM BUSY, BUT NOT ENTIRELY SATISFIED. \E  BYRON’S OLDER SIBLINGS KNEW THIS. \E  BUT THEIR PARENTS WERE AGING AND NEEDED BYRON’S HELP. \E  IF BYRON LEFT, WHO WOULD HELP THEM KEEP THE FARM GOING? \E
10:20:02:18    >> Acevedo: A LOT OF TIMES HE ASKED ME IF I COULD HELP HIM OUT TO COME UP HERE, AND I SAID, NO, I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO THROUGH THAT DANGER AND THE WHOLE NINE YARDS. \E
10:20:10:25    >> Narrator: ELISEO HAD GONE TO THE UNITED STATES AT A SIMILAR AGE IN THE LATE 1970S, ALONE AND WITHOUT THE PROPER DOCUMENTS. \E  HIS PARENTS WERE STRUGGLING TO GET BY, AND HE WANTED TO DO WHAT HE COULD TO HELP. \E  HE SAW THE UNITED STATES AS HIS BEST CHANCE OF CHANGING HIS LIFE AND THEIRS. \E  ON HIS SECOND ATTEMPT, \E HE MADE IT INTO CALIFORNIA. \E  
10:20:33:02    WITHIN A FEW MONTHS, ELISEO WAS LIVING ON HIS OWN IN CALIFORNIA. \E  HE MOVED TO NEW YORK SEVERAL YEARS LATER. \E  OVER TIME HE BECAME A LEGAL RESIDENT AND EVENTUALLY A CITIZEN. \E  HIS LANDSCAPING BUSINESS IN NEW YORK WAS SUCCESSFUL. \E  
10:20:48:08    >> Acevedo: ALL I DID WAS CONCENTRATE ON WORK. \E  I WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY. \E  I WANTED TO, YOU KNOW, STAND OUT FROM THE REST. \E  I HAD FRIENDS THAT CAME PRETTY MUCH AT THE SAME TIME I DID, AND SOME OF THEM ARE EITHER IN JAIL OR DEAD. \E  AND I DIDN’T WANT TO DO THAT. \E  I WANTED TO BE SOMEBODY. \E  I WANTED TO BUILD SOMETHING FOR ME AND MY FAMILY, AND I’VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL. \E
10:21:17:07    >> Narrator: A QUARTER OF A CENTURY LATER, ELISEO’S YOUNGEST BROTHER, WHO WASN’T EVEN BORN WHEN ELISEO LEFT GUATEMALA, WOULD HAVE SIMILAR DREAMS AND AMBITIONS. \E  
10:21:26:19    >> Acevedo: LIKE EVERY TEENAGER OUT THERE OR EVERY PERSON, HE WANTS TO BE ON HIS OWN AND MAKE HIS OWN MONEY. \E  
10:21:32:14    >> Narrator: HAVING BEEN DISCOURAGED BY HIS FAMILY, BYRON KEPT THE PLANS HE WAS MAKING THAT SPRING OF 2002 TO HIMSELF. \E  ACROSS CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO, TEN OTHERS WERE MAKING PLANS THAT WOULD BRING THEM TOGETHER INSIDE A DARK RAILCAR AS THE TOP DOOR WAS LATCHED SHUT. \E  
10:21:51:13    BESIDES GUATEMALA, THE VICTIMS CAME FROM EL SALVADOR, NICARAGUA, MEXICO, AND HONDURAS. \E  TWO RELATED WOMEN FROM HONDURAS, THE FERRUFINOS, HAD EIGHT CHILDREN BETWEEN THEM. THEY LEFT THEIR CHILDREN BEHIND THAT JUNE WITH THEIR MOTHER. A NIECE JOINED THEM ON THE TRIP.\E  THE THREE WOMEN WERE ONLY GOING TO BE GONE FOR A WHILE TO EARN SOME MONEY BEFORE RETURNING HOME. \E  
10:22:20:07    >> Amerena: I THINK THEY KNEW WHAT THEY COULD MAKE EVEN AS WAITRESSES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES WOULD FEED THEIR FAMILIES FOR MANY, MANY MONTHS. \E A HUMBLE HOME, \E NO ELECTRICITY, \E DIRT FLOORS, \E THEY SLEPT IN HAMMOCKS. \E THEY BASICALLY HAD A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD. \E THEY DREW THEIR WATER FROM THE WELL AT THE FRONT OF THE PROPERTY. \E AND THEY DID THE BEST THEY COULD TO MAKE A LIVING. \E
10:22:41:26    >> Narrator: BYRON ACEVEDO, EIGHTEEN, TOOK A BUS TO REACH THE BORDER OF MEXICO AND GUATEMALA. \E  AROUND THIS TIME HE MET THE SMUGGLER, OR AN ASSOCIATE OF THE SMUGGLER, NAMED GUILLERMO MADRIGAL BALLESTEROS, MORE OFTEN KNOWN AS DON MEMO. \E  MADRIGAL AND HIS PEOPLE TOOK BYRON AND OTHERS THROUGH MEXICO. \E  BYRON CROSSED THE RIO GRANDE ON JUNE 11, WITH HELP FROM THE SMUGGLERS. \E  
10:23:07:02    THEY WERE TAKEN TO A STASH HOUSE, OR DROP HOUSE. \E THESE HOUSES ARE KEPT BY THE COYOTES AS A PLACE FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WAITING TO BE SMUGGLED PAST THE INTERIOR CHECKPOINTS. \E  OFTEN THE HOUSES WERE PACKED FULL OF PEOPLE WHO WERE ORDERED BY THOSE WORKING WITH LICEA, THE MAN KNOWN AS CACAHUATE, TO STAY INSIDE. \E  
10:23:28:25    THOSE WHO CLIMBED ONTO THE TRAIN IN OR NEAR HARLINGEN THAT NIGHT WERE SPLIT INTO TWO CARS. \E  ONE CAR, WITH 26 PEOPLE INSIDE, WOULD BE UNLOADED LATER IN THE NIGHT WHEN DISCOVERED BY BORDER PATROL. \E  THE FATE OF THE OTHER 11 WAS DETERMINED BY LITTLE MORE THAN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY APPROACHED THE TRAIN. \E  
10:23:47:06    >> Martinez: THIS ONE WITNESS THAT WE TALKED TO SAID THEY WERE BEING LOADED INTO ONE OF THE GRAIN CARRIERS, AND ONE OF THE SMUGGLERS STOPPED THESE ELEVEN AND SAID, “YOU PEOPLE STOP HERE. \E YOU’RE NOT GONNA FIT IN HERE. \E YOU’RE GOING TO GO IN ANOTHER CAR.” \E  SO HE TOOK THEM OVER AND PUT THEM INTO ANOTHER GRAIN CARRIER -- \E HOPPERS IS WHAT THEY ARE, \E GRAIN HOPPERS. \E  THE TRAIN RIDE FOR THE ALIENS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ANYWHERE FROM ONE TO TWO HOURS, JUST TO BYPASS THE BORDER PATROL CHECKPOINT IN KINGSVILLE, TEXAS. \E  
10:24:21:27    IN KINGSVILLE, THEY WOULD UNLOAD THEM OFF THE TRAIN. \E THAT’S WHY THEY HAD NO FOOD OR WATER SUPPLIES, BECAUSE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SHORT TRIP. \E  THEY WOULD UNLOAD THEM, \E LOAD THEM INTO VEHICLES, \E AND TAKE THEM TO HOUSTON, TEXAS. \E  HOUSTON, TEXAS, THERE WAS ANOTHER CONNECTION, AND FROM THERE, THEY WOULD DISPERSE THEM AND DELIVER TO THEM TO ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. \E
10:24:44:15    >> Narrator: THE UNION PACIFIC CONDUCTOR, ARNULFO FLORES, DIDN’T FEEL LIKE HE WAS CHANGING HOW THINGS WORKED IN SOUTHERN TEXAS BY HELPING THE SMUGGLER. \E  
10:24:53:15    >> Flores: LONG BEFORE I CAME ALONG, THEY WERE WELL AWARE OF HOW THIS WORKED. \E THEY KNEW WHEN TRAINS WERE LEAVING. \E  THEY DIDN’T KNOW THE EXACT TIMES, BUT THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE LEAVING AND WHICH WAY THEY WERE HEADED. \E I ACTUALLY THOUGHT I WAS KIND OF HELPING THEM. \E  THEY REALLY WANTED TO GET OVER HERE. \E THEY WANTED TO COME TO THE U.S. TO BETTER THEMSELVES, BETTER LIVES. \E  IT WASN’T THAT BIG OF A DEAL. \E  YOU’D SEE THEM ON THE TRAINS ALL THE TIME REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU PUT THEM ON THERE OR SOMEONE ELSE, BUT THEY WERE ALWAYS ON THE TRAINS, SO I DIDN’T SEE IT AS HURTING ANYBODY. \E AS LONG AS THE BORDER IS RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO US, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE IMMIGRANTS CROSSING. \E  
10:25:33:02    >> Narrator: EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD BYRON ACEVEDO BECAME ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE ILLEGALLY CROSSING THE BORDER. \E  HIS OLDEST BROTHER, ELISEO, KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT UNTIL THE PHONE RANG IN HIS NEW YORK HOME THAT JUNE. \E  
10:25:45:20    >> Acevedo: HE TOOK OFF WITHOUT TELLING ANYBODY WHAT HE WAS DOING, BECAUSE IT WAS A SHOCK TO ME WHEN MY WIFE CALLED ME WHEN I WAS AT WORK THAT BYRON HAD CALLED FROM ALREADY INSIDE THE COUNTRY. \E HE WAS ALREADY IN BROWNSVILLE, \E BUT I GUESS HE RAN OUT OF MONEY. \E  AND THOSE PEOPLE ASKED ME TO SEND $300 TO GET HIM TO HOUSTON. \E  AND I WAS SHOCKED. \E  IN FACT, I TOLD MY WIFE NOT TO DO ANYTHING, JUST TO GET THE PHONE NUMBERS OF THE PEOPLE THAT CALLED. \E  AND I CAME HOME FROM WORK, I CALLED THEM UP, AND I ASKED TO SPEAK TO HIM. \E  AND I TALKED TO HIM. \E  I REMEMBER ASKING HIM, “BYRON, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? \E IS IT TRUE THAT YOU ARE ALREADY IN BROWNSVILLE?” \E AND HE GOES, “YEAH, AND YOU CAN CALL MY PARENTS AND LET THEM KNOW THAT I’M OKAY. \E  I’M ALREADY HERE. \E IT’S JUST ONE MORE STEP TO GO TO HOUSTON, AND THEN I’M IN.” \E AND THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I SPOKE TO HIM. \E
10:26:45:06    >> Narrator: THE NEWS WAS PARTICULARLY HARD ON ELISEO BECAUSE HE AND SOME OF HIS OTHER SIBLINGS HAD DONE ALL THEY COULD TO KEEP BYRON HAPPY SO HE WOULD REMAIN ON THE FARM. \E  
10:26:55:04    >> Acevedo: WE USED TO SEND HIM MONEY WHENEVER HE WANTED TO BUY SOMETHING. \E  WE TRIED TO HELP HIM OUT. \E  IN FACT, I WAS DOING THAT BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON I KNEW EVENTUALLY HE WAS GOING TO ATTEMPT TO MAKE THE TRIP JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES IN OUR COUNTRIES. \E EVEN THOUGH HE BASICALLY DIDN’T NEED MUCH, HE WANTS TO MAKE HIS OWN MONEY, AND THAT’S WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID. \E HE DIDN’T TELL ANYBODY WHAT HE WAS DOING. \E LIKE I SAY, IT WAS ONE OF THE REASONS I ALWAYS PERSONALLY TRIED TO HELP HIM, WHATEVER HE WANTED TO BUY -- \E  LIKE HE WANTED TO BUY A NEW HORSE: \E  WE BOUGHT HIM A HORSE. \E  HE WANTED A MOTORCYCLE: \E  WE BOUGHT HIM A MOTORCYCLE. \E  EVERYTHING HE NEEDED, WE TRIED TO GIVE IT TO HIM SO THAT HE’LL STAY WITH MY PARENTS. \E  
10:27:42:06    >> Narrator: BYRON ONLY HAD TO LOOK DOWN THE ROAD AT THE BEAUTIFUL HOUSE ELISEO WAS BUILDING -- WITH HOPES OF RETURNING TO GUATEMALA SOMEDAY -- TO BE REMINDED OF WHAT A MAN COULD ACHIEVE THROUGH HARD WORK IN THE RIGHT PLACE. \E  
10:27:56:02    >> [ SPEAKING IN SPANISH ] \E  
10:28:11:00    >> Narrator: WHEN BYRON FINALLY CLIMBED INTO A GRAIN HOPPER LATE ON THE NIGHT OF JUNE 15, HE MUST HAVE FELT LIKE HE WAS SO CLOSE TO HIS DREAM. \E
10:28:19:10    >> Jobes: THE RAILCAR WAS, I GUESS I WOULD DESCRIBE IT AS A TYPICAL GRAIN TRANSPORTATION CAR. \E  IT CONSISTED OF THREE BINS IN A SINGLE RAILCAR. \E THE BODIES WERE FOUND IN THE CENTER COMPARTMENT OF THIS RAILCAR. \E  THAT COMPARTMENT WAS APPROXIMATELY 13 FEET BY 13 FEET BY 10 FEET. \E  THE SIDE WALLS WERE GENERALLY VERTICAL, WITH A STEEPLY SLOPING FLOOR DOWN TO THE BOTTOM HATCH, A MECHANISM TO OPEN AND UNLOAD THE GRAIN FROM THE CAR. \E  THERE’S A LADDER THAT ASCENDS ONE END OF THE COMPARTMENT. \E  THE INTENT IS TO ALLOW MAINTENANCE WORKERS TO GET IN AND DO WHATEVER WORK THEY NEEDED TO DO AND CLIMB BACK OUT. \E
10:29:02:06    >> Narrator: THE BOTTOM DOOR, THROUGH WHICH GRAIN IS NORMALLY DUMPED, COULD ONLY BE OPENED FROM THE OUTSIDE WITH A SPECIAL WRENCH. \E  THE TOP DOOR COULD BE LATCHED SHUT AND OPENED ONLY FROM THE OUTSIDE. \E  THE COYOTES WOULD SOMETIMES LOCK THE TOP HATCH DOOR TO AVOID DRAWING THE ATTENTION OF BORDER PATROL INSPECTORS. \E  THE INSPECTORS NOT ONLY CHECKED A TRAIN WHEN IT ENTERED THE UNITED STATES BUT AGAIN AT ONE OR MORE POINTS BEFORE THE INTERIOR CHECKPOINT NEAR SARITA, TEXAS. \E  
10:29:29:19    >> Flores: ANYTHING THAT DIDN’T HAVE A LOCK ON IT OR IT WAS AN EMPTY, THEY WOULD OPEN IT AND LOOK IN THERE. \E
10:29:34:26    >> Narrator: NORMALLY THE COYOTES WOULD ENTER A RAILCAR’S IDENTIFICATION NUMBER INTO A CELL PHONE AFTER LOADING PEOPLE INSIDE. \E  THEY DID NOT DO SO THAT NIGHT, ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, BECAUSE A GUIDE WAS RIDING ON TOP OF THE RAILCAR. \E  
10:29:48:15    ON JUNE 15 AND 16, THE TEMPERATURE IN NEARBY BROWNSVILLE RANGED FROM A LOW OF MID 70S TO A HIGH OF 96 DEGREES. \E  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH HOTTER INSIDE. \E  ONE OF THE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WHO RODE IN THE SECOND RAILCAR, THE ONE LATER OPENED BY THE BORDER PATROL, ASKED A SMUGGLER NAMED ROGELIO HERNANDEZ ABOUT TAKING WATER ALONG. \E  THE MAN, EDUARDO MARTINEZ, LATER WROTE IN A STATEMENT: \E “I ASKED ROGELIO HOW LONG WE WOULD BE IN THE TRAIN AND FOR HIM TO AT LEAST GIVE US SOME WATER. \E  ROGELIO RESPONDED FOR ME NOT TO WORRY BECAUSE WE WOULD ONLY BE IN THE TRAIN FOR ABOUT ONE HOUR AND THAT HE WOULD BE WAITING FURTHER UP TO LET US OUT OR HE WOULD HAVE SOMEONE WAITING FURTHER UP TO LET US OUT OF THE RAILROAD CAR.” \E  
10:30:32:08    THE TRAIN STOPPED SOUTH OF THE AUTOMOBILE CHECKPOINT NEAR ARMSTRONG THAT NIGHT FOR A RANDOM INSPECTION BY BORDER PATROL. \E  IT WAS AROUND 1:00 A.M. \E ON JUNE 16 WHEN INSPECTORS WITH DOGS BEGAN TO CHECK THE TRAIN. \E
10:30:45:12    >> Martinez: THE BORDER PATROL AGENTS WENT OUT THERE. \E  THEY FOUND THIS BIG BODY, OR THIS GROUP, THIS BIG GROUP, 25 OR 26 PEOPLE. \E  YOU TAKE THEM ALL OUT, \E YOU HAVE THEM ON THE GROUND, \E SO NOW YOU HAVE TO TIE UP SOME OF YOUR AGENTS BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT PEOPLE THERE. \E  WE THINK -- \E  AND WE DID TALK TO THE OFFICERS, I THINK TO MOST OF THE OFFICERS, IF NOT ALL OF THE OFFICERS WHO HAD BEEN THERE THAT NIGHT ABOUT WHAT THEY HAD DONE. \E  THEY CONDUCTED A ROUTINE CHECK-TRAIN INSPECTION. \E  THEY WERE SATISFIED THAT THEY WERE NOT GOING TO FIND ANY MORE PEOPLE IN ANY OTHER BOXCARS. \E  AND SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GO WITH YOUR BEST HUNCHES. \E  YOU CANNOT, AS MUCH AS YOU WANT TO, TO CATCH EVERY SINGLE ONE. \E YOU CAN’T. \E
10:31:35:19    >> Narrator: THE GUIDE WHO HAD BEEN RIDING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE RAILCAR FLED ONCE THE TRAIN WAS STOPPED FOR THE INSPECTION. \E  THE GUIDE, PROBABLY ALSO AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, DIDN’T TAKE THE TIME TO OPEN THE HATCH DOOR, PERHAPS ASSUMING THE GROUP WOULD BE RELEASED LATER BY OTHERS IF THEY MANAGED TO GET THROUGH UNDETECTED. \E  
10:31:53:18    BY THE TIME THOSE 26 HIDING INSIDE THE FIRST RAILCAR WERE DISCOVERED BY BORDER PATROL, THE INSIDE WAS HUMID AND STIFLING. \E  IT WAS ALREADY BECOMING UNBEARABLE. \E  
10:32:04:01    >> Martinez: THEY WERE SWEATING PROFUSELY AND IT GOT SO HOT AND MUGGY INSIDE THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY RAINING. \E I SAID I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT, IT’S RAINING INSIDE. \E OF COURSE, WE KNOW WHAT IT WAS: \E  THE PERSPIRATION ROSE UP INSIDE AND IT CONDENSED ABOVE THEM ON THE METAL AND IT ACTUALLY STARTED TO DRIP. \E  
10:32:24:10    >> Kregel: WITHIN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, YOU CAN MANIFEST A REALLY HIGH TEMPERATURE. \E  SO THINK ABOUT STICKING YOURSELF INTO A 160-DEGREE OVEN AND SEAL IT UP. \E
10:32:35:02    >> Blumberg: WITH THAT MANY BODIES IN ONE RAILCAR AND VERY LITTLE BREEZE AND VENTILATION, THE HUMIDITY INSIDE OF THAT RAILCAR WAS INCREASING TREMENDOUSLY. \E  AND THE PROBLEM THAT POSES FOR SWEATING IS, LIKE I SAID, IN ORDER FOR SWEAT TO WORK, YOU HAVE TO HAVE EVAPORATION. \E  AND EVAPORATION REQUIRES THAT THE HUMIDITY BE LOW. \E  WHEN THE AIR IS SATURATED WITH WATER, THERE’S NO PLACE FOR THAT WATER FROM YOUR SKIN TO GO, SO YOU DON’T GET ANY EVAPORATION, AND SO THE SWEAT JUST DRIPS OFF YOUR BODY. \E
10:33:05:25    >> Kregel: AND THEN YOU HAVE THESE SECONDARY ISSUES RELATED TO THAT IN TERMS OF CARDIOVASCULAR EFFECTS, THE IMPACT ON THE NEURAL TISSUE, THE BRAIN. \E AND SO YOU PROBABLY ELICIT THIS CASCADE OF RESPONSES THEN THAT WOULD LEAD TO THINGS LIKE EARLY-ON FATIGUE, NAUSEA, DIZZINESS, ON TO DELUSION, CONVULSIONS, EVENTUALLY LEADING MOST LIKELY TO COMA. \E  THAT’S THE TYPICAL SCENARIO YOU SEE IN HEAT STROKE CONDITIONS LIKE THIS. \E
10:33:51:01    >> Narrator: THOSE WHO WERE CAUGHT IN THE FIRST RAILCAR NEVER TOLD BORDER PATROL ABOUT THE OTHERS HIDING IN THE NEARBY GRAIN HOPPER. \E  THEY DIDN’T WANT TO RUIN THE OTHERS’ CHANCES OF GETTING FARTHER INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES. \E
10:34:03:22    >> Martinez: I THOUGHT, HE SAYS THAT THEY WERE LUCKY BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT BEEN FOUND. \E  OF COURSE, AFTER HE FOUND OUT THE TRUTH, HE FOUND OUT HOW LUCKY HE AND HIS GROUP WERE THAT THEY HAD NOT DIED AND IT HAD BEEN THE OTHER PEOPLE. \E  
10:34:18:18    >> Narrator: WHILE THE ELEVEN MAY HAVE REMAINED SILENT DURING THE INSPECTION TO AVOID DETECTION, THEY WOULD HAVE AT SOME POINT BEGUN SCREAMING FOR HELP AND SEARCHING FRANTICALLY DURING PERIODIC BURSTS OF ENERGY FOR SOME WAY TO ESCAPE. \E  
10:34:31:00    >> Blumberg: THERE’S A BASIC ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, THAT INCLUDES HUMAN BEHAVIOR, IN WHICH WE WILL STRUGGLE FOR A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM WHEN WE ARE IN DESPERATE STRAITS. \E AND THE PROBLEM WITH THE RAILCAR WAS THAT IT WASN’T A PUZZLE BOX. \E  THERE WAS NO SOLUTION. \E  AND ONE OF THE WORST THINGS ABOUT BEING A HUMAN BEING IN THAT SITUATION IS THAT THESE FOLKS WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD THERE WAS UNLIKELY TO BE A SOLUTION. \E  THEIR BEST HOPE WAS TO COMMUNICATE BY SCREAMING AND HOPING THAT SOMEBODY OVERHEARD THEM. \E  THERE WAS NO WAY THEY WERE GOING TO OPEN THE RAILCAR FROM INSIDE. \E
10:35:13:09    >> Narrator: INVESTIGATORS IN IOWA WOULD LATER NOTE DAMAGE TO THE RUBBER SEAL OF THE TOP HATCH DOOR. \E  IT’S POSSIBLE THAT IT HAD BEEN DAMAGED AT SOME OTHER TIME IN SOME OTHER WAY, BUT IT CROSSED THE MINDS OF AUTHORITIES THAT THOSE INSIDE MIGHT HAVE PICKED AT THE SEAL BY CRAWLING UP THE LADDER, ONE HELPING ANOTHER TO REACH. \E  
10:35:31:14    >> Blumberg: I WOULD FIND IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TRIED TO DO EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO GET OUT. \E  IF THEY SAW THE POSSIBILITY OF OPENING A HOLE THROUGH A RUBBER SEAL ON A DOOR, THEY WOULD HAVE SCRATCHED AT IT. \E THEY WOULD HAVE BROKEN THEIR FINGERNAILS TO DO THAT. \E  THEY WOULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING THEY COULD TO GET OUT OF THAT KIND OF SITUATION. \E  ANYBODY WOULD. \E  IT’S WHAT EVERYBODY DOES WHEN YOU’RE FACED WITH THAT KIND OF DIRE CIRCUMSTANCE. \E
10:36:03:00    >> Narrator: BY THIS TIME, LICEA, THE SMUGGLER, WAS GETTING NERVOUS. \E  HIS PEOPLE HAD FOLLOWED THE TRAIN ALONG A PARALLEL ROAD AND HAD SEEN BORDER PATROL TAKING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS OFF THE TRAIN. \E  THOSE FOLLOWING ASSUMED EVERYONE HAD BEEN FOUND AND LEFT THE AREA. \E  
10:36:18:07    >> Martinez: THE SMUGGLER, CACAHUATE, THOUGHT THAT MAYBE \E -- AND I THINK A LOT OF IT WAS JUST WISHFUL THINKING ON HIS PART -- \E  THAT THEY HAD BEEN CAUGHT AND THEY JUST HADN’T BEEN ABLE TO COMMUNICATE. \E
10:36:27:18    >> Narrator: LICEA CALLED FLORES, THE CONDUCTOR, SHORTLY AFTER THE TRAIN WAS STOPPED. \E  
10:36:31:28    >> Flores: HE TOLD ME, “HEY, I’VE GOT TO FIND A TRAIN. \E  I LOST A TRAIN.” \E I SAID OKAY. \E  I TALKED TO HIM FOR A FEW MINUTES AND KIND OF TRIED TO TELL HIM WHERE IT WAS. \E  I THINK AT THE TIME WHEN HE CALLED ME THAT MORNING, IT WAS STILL IN KINGSVILLE. \E  AND HE SAID OKAY. \E
10:36:46:24    >> Bustamante: THEY MADE AN EFFORT BECAUSE I KNOW THAT HE WAS -- THAT FLORES, THE CONDUCTOR, WAS CONTACTED TO TRY TO TRACK THIS TRAIN DOWN -- OR THIS BOXCAR DOWN, WHERE THESE ALIENS WERE IN. \E  BUT THEY LOST THE SERIAL NUMBER OF THE GRAIN CAR, AND IT DIDN’T MAKE IT EASY TO TRACK IT DOWN. \E
10:37:15:08    >> Narrator: THE RAILCAR HAD BEEN ON LOAN FROM UNION PACIFIC TO ANOTHER RAIL COMPANY. \E  IT WAS NO LONGER NEEDED AND WOULD EVENTUALLY BE RETURNED. \E  IT WAS TAKEN TO EL RENO, OKLAHOMA, ARRIVING JUNE 18. \E  IT WOULD SIT THERE FOR FOUR MONTHS BEFORE BEING TAKEN TO IOWA. \E  
10:37:30:28    >> Martinez: THERE’S A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT REASONS WHY THEY COULDN’T FIND THEM. \E  ONE OF THEM WAS THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE SMUGGLERS WERE ILLEGALS, AND THEY COULD NOT GO THROUGH THE CHECKPOINT BECAUSE THEY WERE GOING TO BE CHECKED. \E  SO THAT WAS AS FAR AS THEY COULD GO. \E
10:37:44:09    >> Narrator: COURT RECORDS SAY SIX CALLS WERE MADE BETWEEN FLORES AND LICEA THAT NIGHT BEFORE 2:00 A.M. \E  
10:37:49:28    >> Flores: I THINK, YOU KNOW, THEY WANTED TO FIND OUT THAT DAY, YOU KNOW, IF THE PEOPLE WERE ON THERE. \E  I THINK MAYBE PAST 24, 48 HOURS I THINK AFTER THAT, IT REALLY DIDN’T MATTER. \E  THEY JUST KIND OF BLEW IT OFF. \E  I GUESS THEY FIGURED THEY HAD BEEN TAKEN OFF THE TRAIN ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE PEOPLE. \E  LIKE I SAID, THERE WAS NO WAY TO KNOW UNTIL THE ACTUAL FAMILIES STARTED CALLING AND SAYING: \E “HEY, WHERE’S MY LOVED ONE? \E WHERE’S MY DAUGHTER? \E WHERE’S MY SON? \E WHERE’S MY FAMILY MEMBER?” \E
10:38:17:02    >> Narrator: FLORES ARGUES THAT HE INITIALLY DIDN’T HAVE ANY REAL EVIDENCE THAT THE ELEVEN HADN’T SIMPLY GOTTEN OFF AND BEEN DEPORTED, PREVENTING THE CENTRAL AMERICANS AND MEXICANS FROM REACHING THEIR FAMILIES IN THOSE EARLY HOURS. \E  
10:38:29:10    >> Flores: I AM SORRY FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE PEOPLE, BUT I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. \E  THERE AGAIN, THEY HAD ALREADY ESTABLISHED A TIMELINE THAT I WASN’T THERE. \E  I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THOSE ELEVEN THAT WERE LOADED ON THE TRAIN. \E
10:38:44:16    >> Narrator: LICEA, THE MAN DESCRIBED BY THE GOVERNMENT AS THE RINGLEADER, IS NOW IN PRISON. \E  HE DECLINED TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR THIS DOCUMENTARY. \E  HE SAID DURING HIS SENTENCING HEARING, HOWEVER, THAT HE ALSO DOESN’T FEEL DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS. \E
10:38:59:15    IN NEW YORK, ELISEO ACEVEDO WAITED AFTER SENDING THE COYOTES MONEY FOR THE REMAINDER OF BYRON’S TRIP. \E  
10:39:07:21    >> Acevedo: A COUPLE DAYS WENT BY AND I NEVER HEARD FROM THEM, AND I STARTED TO GET NERVOUS. \E  I STARTED CALLING THE NUMBERS THAT I HAD, YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE THAT ORIGINALLY CALLED ME THAT WERE BRINGING HIM UP. \E  HE GOES, “OH, WE DON’T KNOW. \E  SOME OF THE PEOPLE GOT CAUGHT THAT WERE ON THE TRAIN, BUT THERE ARE ELEVEN PEOPLE MISSING THAT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE, WHETHER THEY WERE ARRESTED OR WHAT HAPPENED. \E WE DON’T KNOW.” \E  I DON’T KNOW IF THEY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON OR NOT AT THAT POINT. \E
10:39:38:01    >> Norma Acevedo: HE SAID, YOU KNOW, I WANT TO GO LOOK FOR HIM. \E  I SAID, YEAH, LET’S TRY TO DO ANYTHING HUMAN THAT WE CAN DO. \E  LIKE YOU KNOW, IF IT’S IN YOUR HANDS, THANK GOD WE WERE LEGAL AND HE HAD HIS PAPERS TO GO AND LOOK FOR HIM. \E  YOU KNOW, HE USED TO CALL ME FROM THERE. \E YOU KNOW, GOING FROM HERE TO THERE WAS VERY HARD: \E “I CAN’T FIND HIM.” \E I REMEMBER ONE . . . \E
10:40:25:22    >> Narrator: ELISEO WENT ON SEVERAL MORE TRIPS TO TEXAS. \E  THIS TIME HE INCLUDED MORGUES AND HOSPITALS AMONG THE PLACES HE SEARCHED FOR BYRON. \E  
10:40:33:28    >> Acevedo: YOU KNOW, HE WAS GOING CRAZY, YOU KNOW, LOOKING FOR HIM EVERYWHERE. \E  I REMEMBER WHEN HE CALLED ME FROM THERE, HE SAID, “I HAVE TO GO TO ONE PLACE TOMORROW, AND THEY ARE GOING TO CALL HIM THROUGH THE SPEAKER AND SEE IF HE’S IN ONE OF THE JAILS IN” -- I DON’T REMEMBER WHAT PLACE BUT, YOU KNOW, ACROSS THE BORDER FROM MEXICO. \E  AND HE TOLD ME THAT THEY WERE CALLING HIS NAME AND, YOU KNOW, ACTUALLY THE GUY DID HELP HIM, YOU KNOW. \E THEY WERE CALLING TO SEE IF HE WAS IN JAIL BUT, YOU KNOW, HE WASN’T THERE. \E
10:41:22:27    >> Juarez: [ SPEAKING IN SPANISH ] \E
10:41:34:06    >> Narrator: IT WAS IN OCTOBER, AFTER FOUR MONTHS OF SILENCE, THAT ELISEO HEARD THE NEWS REPORT WHILE DRIVING ONE OF HIS LANDSCAPING TRUCKS: \E BODIES HAD BEEN FOUND IN A TRAIN IN IOWA. \E  ELISEO WAS SOON ON THE PHONE WITH INVESTIGATORS. \E  
10:41:48:03    >> Jobes: MY BEST RECOLLECTION IS THAT HE WAS VERY APPREHENSIVE. \E  HE THOUGHT IT WAS LIKELY HIS BROTHER, AND THAT WAS A VERY FRIGHTENING THOUGHT TO HIM THAT HIS BROTHER HAD DIED JUST TRYING TO COME INTO THE UNITED STATES. \E
10:42:02:21    >> Narrator: JOBES, WITH THE IOWA DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, AND OTHERS WITH FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES, WERE GETTING READY TO PROCESS THE CRIME SCENE, WHICH IN THIS CASE WAS THE RAILCAR. \E  THE TEAM DECIDED TO MOVE THE RAILCAR TO DES MOINES, IOWA, TO BE NEAR THE STATE MEDICAL EXAMINER’S OFFICE. \E  ONCE IN DES MOINES, \E FIREFIGHTERS CUT OPEN THE SIDE OF THE RAILCAR SO THE FORENSICS TEAM COULD GET TO THE BODIES MORE EASILY. \E  
10:42:27:20    >> Friedrichs: THE PEOPLE THAT WORKED ON IT AS FAR AS THE FORENSIC TEAM, I MEAN, IT WAS A TRYING EFFORT FOR THEM BECAUSE IT WAS -- IT WAS JUST DOWNRIGHT NASTY IN THERE. \E
10:42:39:01    >> Klein: THE BODIES WERE IN THE STAGE OF ADVANCED DECOMPOSITION. \E
10:42:44:01    >> Narrator: ONE OF THE FIRST TASKS WOULD BE TO IDENTIFY THOSE BODIES. \E  
10:42:47:09    >> Klein: WE WILL USE DNA IN ORDER TO COMPARE THE PERSON’S DNA TO SOME COMPARISON DNA. \E  USUALLY THAT WOULD BE IF THERE’S SOME PERSONAL ITEM THAT THE PERSON HAD USED OR A BIOLOGICAL RELATIVE. \E
10:43:02:04    >> Narrator: THE TEAM HAD PHONE CALLS FROM PEOPLE, SUCH AS ELISEO ACEVEDO, WHO THOUGHT A RELATIVE MIGHT BE AMONG THE VICTIMS. \E  INVESTIGATORS ALSO FOUND SOME CLUES INSIDE THE RAILCAR TO HELP THEM GET STARTED ON IDENTIFYING THE BODIES. \E  
10:43:15:14    >> Jobes: IT DID TAKE QUITE SOME TIME TO GET POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. \E  THERE WERE SOME PIECES OF -- \E SOME IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS THAT WERE FOUND IN THE RAILCAR, BUT IT WAS DIFFICULT TO MATCH THOSE DOCUMENTS TO PARTICULAR VICTIMS. \E  SO IT DID GIVE AUTHORITIES A STARTING POINT IN TERMS OF IDENTIFYING VICTIMS, BUT THERE WAS STILL A GREAT DEAL OF LEGWORK THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE IN OTHER COUNTRIES TO MAKE POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. \E
10:43:43:04    >> Narrator: FBI SPECIAL AGENT ROSEMARY AMERENA, THEN BASED IN BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, WAS ONE OF THE KEY PEOPLE WHO WOULD DO THAT WORK. \E  SHE TRAVELED TO FOUR CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES TO OBTAIN DNA SAMPLES BY TAKING CHEEK SWABS FROM RELATIVES OF THOSE SUSPECTED OF BEING AMONG THE VICTIMS. \E  
10:43:59:28    >> Amerena: VERY REMOTE AREAS, \E VERY IMPOVERISHED FAMILIES. \E  IN GUATEMALA, WE HAD TO TRAVEL I THINK IT WAS ABOUT FOUR AND A HALF TO FIVE HOURS TO GET TO CHIQUIMULA, WHICH WAS THE COMMUNITY WHERE WE WERE LOOKING FOR THE PARENTS OF THE DECEASED. \E  AND WHAT HAPPENED WAS WHEN WE GOT THERE, WE TRAVELED ON PAVED ROADS ALL THE WAY TO THE COMMUNITY, AND THEN WE TRAVELED ON DIRT ROADS TO GET TO THE ACTUAL HOUSE, WHICH WAS A LITTLE SLOW GOING. \E  A LOT OF LIVESTOCK ON THE ROADWAY, YOU KNOW, PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC. \E AND THE HOUSE, OF COURSE, WAS VERY HUMBLE. \E  IT WAS A VERY HUMBLE HOME. \E
10:44:45:13    >> Narrator: ELISEO TRAVELED WITH AMERENA TO HIS PARENTS’ HOME IN GUATEMALA, BUT ASKED HER TO AVOID TELLING HIS MOTHER EXACTLY WHY THEY WERE THERE. \E  
10:44:53:15    >> Acevedo: MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WAS ALREADY SICK. \E MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WAS ALREADY SICK, YOU KNOW, GOING TO DOCTORS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, SHE GOT EMOTIONAL AND GOT SICK SO THEY DIDN’T TELL HER EXACTLY WHY THEY WERE GOING THERE. \E
10:45:09:28    >> Narrator: IN HONDURAS, THE OLDER FERRUFINO WOMAN WHO WAS CARING FOR HER EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN HAD LITTLE HOPE OF SEEING LESLY, ROSIBEL AND LELY ALIVE AGAIN BY THE TIME AMERENA ARRIVED.\E  
10:45:22:06    >> Amerena: SHE WAS PRETTY CERTAIN IT WAS THEM. \E  SHE DIDN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT MUCH. \E  SHE DIDN’T WANT TO DWELL ON IT. \E  SHE DID TELL US A LOT ABOUT THE GIRLS AND HOW THEY WORKED HARD -- THEY WERE HARD WORKERS. \E  EVERYBODY WAS A HARD WORKER AND, YOU KNOW, THEY HAD TO DO THIS, HOW WOULD THEY LIVE OTHERWISE. \E
10:45:40:26    >> Narrator: EVENTUALLY, THE TEAM IDENTIFIED ALL ELEVEN VICTIMS. \E  
10:45:44:13    >> Amerena: I THINK BECAUSE I HAD TO TRAVEL AND ACTUALLY MEET THESE FAMILIES AND ESSENTIALLY PARTICIPATE IN THEIR GRIEVING PROCESS THAT IT STAYED MORE -- STAYED WITH ME A LOT MORE THAN OTHER CASES. \E  
10:46:01:04    >> Narrator: ALONZO MARTINEZ, IN CHARGE OF THE INVESTIGATING TEAM, WAS ALSO BECOMING EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED AS HE TALKED REPEATEDLY WITH RELATIVES OF THE VICTIMS. \E THIS WAS NOT THE NORM FOR HIM. \E
10:46:11:24    >> Martinez: YOU SEE THE CONCERN. \E YOU SEE THE PAIN THAT WE RARELY GET A CHANCE TO OBSERVE BECAUSE SO MANY CASES -- MOST OF OUR CASES, THEY’RE FAST. \E YOU KEEP MOVING AND/OR YOU DEAL WITH THE CRIMINALS THEMSELVES. \E YOU TALK TO THEM. \E YOU INTERVIEW THEM. \E YOU GO FORTH. \E BUT NOT ONLY WITH ELISIO, BUT WITH SO MANY OF THE VICTIMS’ FAMILIES THAT WE TALKED TO, TO TRY TO GET, WHETHER IT WAS INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE GOING, WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE SMUGGLER, HOW THEY TRAVELLED, OR WHY THEY BELIEVED THEY WERE IN THIS TRAIN, WE BECAME CLOSELY ASSOCIATED. \E WE BECAME FRIENDS, I GUESS IS ANOTHER WORD. \E I RECEIVED PHONE CALLS FROM SEVERAL OF THEM JUST TO TALK, SOMETIMES JUST TO WISH YOU WELL DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON OR THINGS OF THAT SORT. \E ELISIO IN PARTICULAR BECAME WHAT I CONSIDER A FRIEND -- GOOD FRIEND. \E
10:47:10:20    >> Narrator: AS THE TEAM INVESTIGATING THE DEATHS HUNTED FOR THOSE WHO HAD SMUGGLED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE INSIDE THE RAILCAR, THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN ELISEO ACEVEDO AND ALONZO MARTINEZ CONTINUED TO GROW. \E  
10:47:22:08    >> Acevedo: HE GOT VERY INTO THE CASE, AND WE GOT TO KNOW HIM VERY GOOD. \E  IN FACT, UP TO NOW I STILL CONSIDER HIM A FRIEND. \E  HE HELPED ME OUT TO GO THROUGH THAT A LOT, AS FAR AS TALKING TO ME AND GIVING ME A LOT OF GOOD THINGS THAT I CAN GO THROUGH. \E I STILL UP TO NOW I TELL MY PARENTS HOW GOOD ALONZO WAS AND HOW MUCH INTEREST HE PUT IN ARRESTING ALL THESE PEOPLE, AND I THINK THEY DO A GREAT JOB. \E AND I GOT NOTHING AGAINST, YOU KNOW, INS ANYWAY. \E  THEY’RE DOING THEIR JOB \E  WE, UNFORTUNATELY, BREAK THE LAW AS FAR AS TRYING TO COME IN. \E  BUT I THINK THEY DO A GREAT JOB. \E
10:48:07:24    >> Narrator: BYRON’S PARENTS AND THE OTHER FAMILIES AROUND CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO GAVE UP THE LAST SHREDS OF HOPE AS THE BODIES’ IDENTITIES WERE CONFIRMED AND RETURNED HOME. \E  ELISEO TOOK HIS BROTHER’S BODY HOME. \E  
10:48:20:25    >> Acevedo: I COULDN’T EVEN EXPLAIN TO YOU WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH, ESPECIALLY WHEN I WAS FLYING WITH MY BROTHER, YOU KNOW, ON A CARGO AND I WAS UPSTAIRS ON A REGULAR PLANE SEAT AND MY BROTHER DOWNSTAIRS IN A BOX. \E  IT WAS THE WORST THING THAT I’VE EVER GONE THROUGH. \E AND THAT’S WHERE, YOU KNOW, THE WHOLE THING ENDED AND OUR LIVES CHANGED COMPLETELY AS FAR AS ME, MY PARENTS, EVERYBODY. \E  UP TO TODAY, WE ARE STILL GOING ON WITH OUR LIVES, BUT NOTHING LIKE IT WAS BEFORE AFTER LOSING MY BROTHER LIKE THAT. \E
10:49:15:06    >> Narrator: THE APPARENT MURDER OF ANOTHER OF ELISEO’S BROTHERS, CARLOS, IN GUATEMALA PUSHED THE ACEVEDO FAMILY DEEPER INTO GRIEF. \E  
10:49:23:08    >> Acevedo: LIKE FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AFTER MY LITTLE BROTHER DIED IN THE TRAIN, ONE OF MY OTHER BROTHERS ALSO GOT KIDNAPPED, AND IT FELT LIKE EVERYTHING WAS STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN. \E
10:49:39:24    >> Narrator: BYRON’S MOTHER REMEMBERS HER CHILDREN WITH FREQUENT VISITS TO THEIR GRAVES. \E IT WAS TOO DIFFICULT FOR HER AND HER HUSBAND TO TALK ON CAMERA ABOUT THEIR DEATHS. \E
10:49:49:15    >> Norma Acevedo: IT IS LIKE A SPECIAL PLACE. \E YOU KNOW, IT’S NOT JUST A CEMETERY WHERE MY SON IS.  \E  IT’S REALLY VERY, VERY SAD. \E  
10:50:03:04    >> Narrator: FOUR MEN WERE EVENTUALLY CHARGED WITH CRIMES IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASE: \E
10:50:07:19    LICEA, THE MAN KNOWN AS CACAHUATE AND DESCRIBED BY THE GOVERNMENT AS THE RINGLEADER:
10:50:13:12    \E ROGELIO HERNANDEZ, THE COYOTE FROM MEXICO WHO HAD SMUGGLED TWO OF THE ELEVEN:
10:50:18:21    \E GUILLERMO MADRIGAL BALLESTEROS, \E ALSO KNOWN AS DON MEMO, \E WHO HAD BROUGHT SOME OF THEM FROM CENTRAL AMERICA AND THROUGH MEXICO: \E AND ARNULFO FLORES JR. \E THE FORMER UNION PACIFIC CONDUCTOR. \E  OTHERS WITH LIMITED ROLES IN THE SMUGGLING OF THE ELEVEN WERE CHARGED THROUGH OTHER, UNRELATED CASES. \E  
10:50:37:21    >> Flores: IT SEEMS LIKE THE WORLD WAS COMING TO AN END, YOU KNOW. \E  EVERYTHING THAT WE HAD WORKED FOR WAS GONE PRETTY MUCH, YOU KNOW. \E  THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO ABOUT IT. \E  AT THAT POINT IN TIME, I HAD ALREADY COME TO TERMS WITH IT. \E  I HAD TOLD MY WIFE I WAS GOING TO FACE WHATEVER WAS THERE. \E
10:50:54:01    >> Narrator: FLORES, THEN 35, ENDED UP ENTERING A GUILTY PLEA TO CONSPIRING TO TRANSPORT UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. \E  HE WAS SENTENCED TO 41 MONTHS IN PRISON. \E  HE ENDED UP BEING RELEASED IN THE SUMMER OF 2006. \E  LICEA, WHO WAS THEN 26, \E ALSO ENTERED A GUILTY PLEA AND WAS SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 24 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRING TO TRANSPORT AND HARBORING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. \E  HE IS SERVING HIS TIME IN A FEDERAL PRISON IN TEXAS. \E  
10:51:22:21    ROGELIO HERNANDEZ WAS EVENTUALLY ARRESTED IN MEXICO. \E AS OF SUMMER 2010, HERNANDEZ WAS STILL WANTED IN THE UNITED STATES, AND OFFICIALS WERE HOPING TO EXTRADITE HIM. \E
10:51:34:24    GUILLERMO MADRIGAL REMAINED A FUGITIVE AS OF JULY 2010. \E  AUTHORITIES SUSPECT HE FLED TO CENTRAL AMERICA. \E  
10:51:43:02    SHORTLY AFTER THE BODIES WERE FOUND IN IOWA, ELISEO RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM SMUGGLER GUILLERMO MADRIGAL. \E  
10:51:49:27    >> Acevedo: HE WANTED TO KNOW IF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE FOUND IN IOWA WAS THEIR PEOPLE, AND I SAID YES. \E  AND HE GOES TO ME, I KNEW -- WE KIND OF KNEW THAT THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED, BUT WE COULDN’T REALLY SAY ANYTHING, AND I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT WAS THEM. \E  AND I SAID, YEAH, \E IT WAS THEM. \E  AND HE SAYS TO ME, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU BUT -- USING A BAD WORD -- SAYS THOSE THINGS HAPPEN, LIKE HE DIDN’T REALLY CARE. \E  HE WAS THE COLDEST PERSON I EVER TALKED TO WHEN IT COMES TO KNOWING THAT THEY KILLED ELEVEN PEOPLE AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN BLINK AN EYE TO DO IT. \E
10:52:34:04    >> Narrator: HE WANTS TO SEE MADRIGAL, THE LAST SMUGGLER STILL ON THE RUN, ARRESTED AND BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES. \E  
10:52:40:04    >> Acevedo: IT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT’S BOTHERING ME MORE, THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT DIDN’T PAY FOR THAT. \E  
10:52:46:22    >> Narrator: ELISEO FEELS HE NEEDS TO DO ONE OTHER THING TO MOVE ON. \E  
10:52:52:20    >> Acevedo: EVEN THOUGH IT’S BEEN SO MANY YEARS THAT THIS HAPPENED, IT’S BEEN ON MY MIND THAT I WANTED TO GO TO IOWA, AND HOPEFULLY UNION PACIFIC WILL LET ME SEE THE CAR WHERE MY BROTHER DIED JUST TO GET IT OUT OF MY MIND. \E  PROBABLY IT WILL HELP ME OUT A LITTLE BIT JUST TO SEE WHERE HE WAS FOUND. \E
10:53:14:27    >> Narrator: HE HAD NOT YET OBTAINED PERMISSION TO VISIT THE RAILCAR AS OF THE MAKING OF THIS DOCUMENTARY, BUT HOPED TO STILL DO SO. \E  
10:53:22:14    MARTINEZ, WHO HAS NOW RETIRED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIS WIFE, CHILDREN, AND GRANDCHILDREN, STILL THINKS ABOUT THE CASE AND TALKS TO ELISEO FROM TIME TO TIME. \E  
10:53:31:18    >> Martinez: ELISEO FELT A CERTAIN SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY, EVEN GUILTY, THAT HIS BROTHER HAD COME UP HERE, BECAUSE HE COULDN’T CONVINCE HIM, FIRST OF ALL, NOT TO COME THAT WAY, NOT TO COME ILLEGALLY. \E HE WAS LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES, MAYBE HE WAS LIVING THAT LIFE THAT HIS BROTHER THOUGHT WAS SO GREAT. \E  ELISEO IS A HARD-WORKING MAN. \E  IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S OUT HERE WITH AN EASY JOB. \E HE DOES A LOT OF LANDSCAPING AND DURING THE WINTER, HE DOES SNOW REMOVAL. \E BUT STILL, YOU KNOW, IT’S SO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT HE HAD BACK IN HIS HOMELAND THAT HE FELT A LARGE SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS BROTHER’S DEATH. \E
10:54:16:27    THERE ARE PEOPLE DEFINITELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE PEOPLE GETTING ON THAT TRAIN. \E  FIRST AND FOREMOST ARE THE ALIENS THEMSELVES. \E  THEY WILLFULLY CLIMBED INTO THOSE HOPPERS BECAUSE THEY HAD A DESTINATION, BUT EVEN MORE RESPONSIBLE ARE THE SMUGGLERS, THE COYOTES, BECAUSE THIS IS THEIR -- THIS IS THEIR BUSINESS. \E  A PERSON IS NOTHING MORE THAN JUST A PIECE A MEAT. \E THEY’RE CARGO. \E
10:54:44:27    >> Narrator: A MEDICAL EXAMINER ESTIMATED THAT THOSE INSIDE THE RAILCAR WOULD HAVE SURVIVED PERHAPS 24 HOURS, CERTAINLY NO LONGER THAN 36 HOURS. \E  THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS RULED TO BE HYPERTHERMIA, OR OVERHEATING, AND DEHYDRATION. \E  SOME FAMILIAR WITH THE CASE ARGUE THAT THE SMUGGLERS AND CONDUCTOR DIDN’T KNOW IN TIME THAT THE ELEVEN HADN’T SIMPLY BEEN ARRESTED. \E  OTHERS ARGUE THAT THEY COULD HAVE EASILY SAVED THE LIVES OF THE ELEVEN, CONSIDERING THEY WERE MAKING CALLS ABOUT THEIR SUSPICIONS WITHIN A FEW HOURS OF THE TRAIN BEING STOPPED. \E  
10:55:19:04    >> Acevedo: THE SMUGGLERS KNEW EXACTLY WHERE THEY PUT THEM. \E  THE TRAIN CONDUCTOR KNEW EXACTLY WHERE THEY WERE. \E  THEY JUST CLEANED THEIR HANDS UP AND SAY THAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT, BUT THEY KNEW. \E IF IMMIGRATION CHECKED IT OUT AND GOT THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ON THE OTHER CARS, THEY COULD HAVE MADE AN ANONYMOUS CALL AND SAY THERE’S ELEVEN PEOPLE IN SO-AND-SO CAR, GET THEM OUT. \E  AND THEY LEFT THEM TO DIE IN THERE LIKE THEY WERE ANIMALS. \E
10:55:47:01    >> Narrator: INSIDE THE GRAIN HOPPER THAT DAY IN JUNE, AS THE SUN CAME UP AND THE DAY DRAGGED ON, THE SUFFERING WOULD HAVE CONTINUED, WOULD HAVE WORSENED FOR THE ELEVEN TRAPPED INSIDE. \E
10:55:57:14    >> Blumberg: PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO STAY CALM, AND SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO COULD NO LONGER CONTAIN THEMSELVES WITH CALM, THEY WOULD HAVE PERHAPS BEEN THE TARGET OF SOME ANGRY ALTERCATIONS. \E  SO THERE COULD HAVE BEEN NO BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS IN THAT KIND OF A SITUATION. \E  IT WOULD HAVE GONE FROM UGLY TO HORRIFYING. \E
10:56:18:27    >> Narrator: EVENTUALLY, ALL WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT. \E  IF THEY WEREN’T ALREADY LYING DOWN ON THE HOT METAL BOTTOM OF THE COMPARTMENT, THEY WOULD HAVE COLLAPSED THERE NOW. \E  THEY WOULD HAVE, ONE BY ONE, LOST CONSCIOUSNESS, LAPSING INTO COMA. \E
10:56:32:21    >> Blumberg: SO YOU COULD IMAGINE THAT THEY’RE EACH GOING TO BE FALLING AND FAILING AT DIFFERENT RATES, AND THE PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT FAILING AS QUICKLY WOULD HAVE JUST BEEN WITNESSES TO THAT AND KNOWN THAT THEY WERE NEXT. \E  SO THOSE PEOPLE PROBABLY HAD IT THE WORST, I WOULD IMAGINE. \E
10:56:47:09    >> Narrator: GRADUALLY, PERHAPS BY SUNSET, THEIR HEARTS BEGIN TO BEAT SLOWLY, SLUGGISHLY. \E  THE ELEVEN ARE PILED AGAINST ONE ANOTHER IN THE NARROW BOTTOM AS THE TRAIN MOVES, RATTLING ON TOWARD OKLAHOMA. \E  IN THE END, THE ONLY SOUND IS THE CONTINUING RUMBLE OF THE TRAIN. \E  
10:57:23:01    >> Narrator: IN NOVEMBER 2010, ELISEO ACEVEDO FINALLY GOT HIS WISH.  DRIVING HOME FROM A TRIP TO OMAHA, HE STOPPED IN DES MOINES AND VISITED THE RAILCAR WHERE HIS LITTLE BROTHER HAD DIED EIGHT YEARS EARLIER. \E
10:57:48:04    >> Acevedo: I JUST MANAGED TO SEE A LITTLE SPACE INSIDE WHERE THEY PROBABLY DIED.  I GOT TO SEE IT AND GET IT OUT OF MY SYSTEM.  AND HOPEFULLY I CAN, IT WILL HELP ME TO GO THE REST OF MY EXISTENCE AND CLOSE THIS OUT. \E
10:58:12:13    \M I LEFT WITHOUT A PLAN
    \M AND A BURNING DESIRE
    \M TO BE MY OWN MAN
    \M I STILL KEEP A PICTURE
    \M STOWED AWAY IN MY MIND
    \M OF ANOTHER TIME
    \M I COULD RETURN TO YOU
    \M MY FORTUNE
    \M MY SPIRIT ONCE AGAIN RENEWED
    \M I ASK FOR YOUR BLESSING NOW
    \M MY DREAM
    \M MUST COME TRUE SOMEHOW
    \M I WAS ON A TRAIN
    \M IT WAS HEADED NORTHBOUND
    \M LAND OF MILK AND HONEY - \M\M

Citation

Main credits

Krantz, Colleen Bradford (Screenwriter)
Krantz, Colleen Bradford (Producer)
Kakert, Paul (Director)
Kakert, Paul (Producer)
Kakert, Paul (Cinematographer)
Kakert, Paul (Film editor)
Fibrich, Fred (Narrator)

Other credits

Editor & director of photography, Paul Kakert; original music by Chad Elliot, Jennifer Bradford.


Distributor credits

Colleen Bradford Krantz

Colleen Bradford Krantz
Paul Kakert

Docuseek2 subjects

Immigration and Refugees

Distributor subjects

No distributor subjects provided.

Keywords

immigrants,immigration; Denison; Iowa; border; "Train to Nowhere"; Scorpion TV

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