The driver of a tractor trailer that transported scores of undocumented immigrants to a San Antonio Walmart in July — leading to 10 deaths — pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. Appearing before a federal judge, James Matthew Bradley, 61, admitted his role in the lethal smuggling operation, the deadliest of its kind in more than a decade, The Intercept reports. After initially facing the death penalty, Bradley now faces life in prison. A second suspect, Pedro Silva Segura 47, faces several counts.
A criminal complaint painted a harrowing picture of the events that led to the discovery in the Walmart parking lot, with three survivors describing anywhere from 70 to 200 people crammed into a trailer on the drive from Laredo, Tx., San Antonio. The heat inside in the trailer was stifling — the temperature in San Antonio that day reached 100 degrees — and those inside shared a single hole in the trailer’s wall to breathe. They banged on the walls of the trailer, screaming for help, but no one came. Surveillance footage captured several vehicles pulling up to the trailer before authorities arrived and taking away an unknown number of individuals. Among the nearly 40 people left behind — including four teens, ages 14 to 17 — several were discovered unconscious. An expansive rescue operation was undertaken, with immigrants facing potential brain damage raced to seven area hospitals, where many of them would remain for weeks.