Driver of truck in which 10 undocumented migrants died pleads guilty

James Bradley Jr.
Left photo (video capture): James Bradley Jr. on July 24 after being transported to court; at right, mugshot following an arrest in 2004 (courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff).

The driver of a truck accused of an illegal alien smuggling operation that resulted in 10 deaths pleaded guilty to those charges in federal court in San Antonio on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.

James Matthew Bradley Jr., 61, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport immigrants resulting in death and one count of transporting immigrants resulting in death.

In pleading guilty, Bradley admitted that on July 23, 2017, he conspired to transport undocumented aliens into the United States for financial gain.

His case will not go to trial, avoiding a possible death sentence. However, Bradley could be sentenced to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 22, 2018. In the meantime, he remains in prison.

Bradley agreed to turn over to the government from his truck, approximately $$5,600 in cash and a .38 caliber handgun recovered from inside the cab of his trailer.

According to police reports, at least 39 immigrants, mostly Mexicans, were traveling in cramped conditions, exposed to temperatures of more than 100°F (38°C) inside the trailer found in the parking lot of a Walmart in San Antonio in July of this year. However, survivors claimed that between 70 and 200 people had been transported during that journey. Eight people died inside the truck and two others died in the hospital.

Within that group, Bradley transported at least four minors between the ages of 14 and 17.

Another defendant, Pedro Silva Segura, a 47-year-old undocumented alien living in Laredo, Texas, still faces two counts of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain, resulting in death, serious bodily injury, and endangering lives, in addition to two counts of transporting undocumented aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and endangering lives.

Silva, who continues to be held in Laredo without bail, will be transferred to San Antonio. His trial date has not yet been set.