Trucker involved in San Antonio human smuggling operation indicted, pleads not guilty

| September 01, 2017

A Florida-licensed truck driver involved in the smuggling of dozens of illegal immigrants, resulting in 10 deaths, in San Antonio in July was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 16 and later pleaded not guilty.

James Matthew Bradley Jr. faces a five-count indictment, which includes one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in death; one count of transportation of undocumented aliens resulting in death; one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; one count of transporting undocumented aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas says if Bradley is convicted of the conspiracy and transportation resulting in death charges, he faces up to life in prison or the death penalty. The conspiracy and transportation resulting in serious bodily injury charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, and the firearm charge carries a sentence up to 10 years in federal prison.

Bradley reportedly entered a not guilty plea on the charges.

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Bradley’s truck was discovered shortly after midnight on July 23 with 39 undocumented aliens trapped inside a sweltering trailer in a San Antonio Walmart parking lot. Ten of the people inside the trailer were either dead when police arrived or later died in a hospital. Court documents state there were between 70 and 200 people in the trailer during transport. The trailer had a reefer unit, but Bradley told authorities during the investigation he knew it didn’t work.

According to court documents, Bradley told police he was taking the trailer to Brownsville, Texas, for Pyle Transportation to deliver the trailer to someone who purchased it, but said he was not given a time frame to deliver the trailer or a delivery address. He told them that before going to San Antonio, he had been in Laredo, Texas, getting his truck washed and detailed.

Additionally, Bradley had his Florida CDL revoked in April. The firearm charges stem from authorities finding a .38 caliber pistol in the truck at the scene, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

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