San Antonio man, 61 – year – old, confessed to being guilty of two federal charges in the human smuggling incident that led to the deaths of 10 undocumented immigrants this summer.
James Matthew Bradley Jr., who appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge Monday, pleaded guilty to “one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.
The office added that Bradley’s “admission of guilt” meant he loaded dozens of unauthorized immigrants into a tractor-trailer for financial gain, adding that the suspect confirmed that details from court documents were “factually correct.”
On July 23, San Antonio Police Department officers received a call from a Walmart employee. Then responded to the call shortly past midnight. Once officers arrived, they found 39 immigrants at the scene, being carried in the tractor-trailer. Eight of them were found dead in the back of the trailer, while two died later at nearby hospitals, the statement said.
Immigrants who survived the incident said there was no air conditioning in the heated trailer and had to take turns to breathe through a hole in the back of the truck. They also, said that there were up to 200 people transported on the trailer. Different fees were quoted to them for the ride north from the U.S. – Mexico border.
Bradley also initially told investigators that he had not known about the immigrants in the trailer until he had stopped at the Walmart for a break in San Antonio. The attorney’s office also said Bradley faces up to life in prison with the charges and that he is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2018.
Shane M. Folden, a special agent in charge of homeland security investigations in San Antonio, said in the statement that the proceeding “helps to close the door on one of the conspirators responsible for causing the tragic loss of life and wreaking havoc on those who survived this horrific incident.”
“This case is a glaring reminder that alien smugglers have little regard for the health and well-being of their human cargo, which can prove to be a fatal combination,” he added.
Bradley’s co-defendant Pedro Silva Segura was also indicted last month with faces two counts of conspiracy and two counts of transporting immigrants, without documents, resulting in serious physical injuries and placing lives in danger.