Trucker gets life sentence for human trafficking scheme that left 10 dead last year in Texas

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Updated Apr 23, 2018
James BradleyJames Bradley

The trucker involved in a deadly human trafficking incident that left 10 illegal immigrants dead in Texas last summer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced.

James Matthew Bradley, 61, of Louisville, Ky., was sentenced in federal court Friday in San Antonio not far from the Walmart parking lot where last July authorities found eight dead illegal immigrants in the back of Bradley’s trailer that had died of heat stroke. Two more died later at a hospital.

“Smuggling illegal aliens into this country disregards both our laws and their safety,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “The defendant’s actions in this case led to the agonizing deaths of 10 people. Were it not for his actions, they might still be alive today. This case is a reminder of why the Trump administration and this Department of Justice have renewed our commitment to enforcing our criminal immigration laws and why we are going to continue to work to secure our borders.”

Following sentencing, U.S. Attorney John F. Bash issued a warning to those who choose to hire illegal immigrants:

“…I have a further message for those employers who knowingly hire unauthorized immigrants by the dozens, in blatant violation of federal law: You are creating the economic incentive for precisely the sort of deadly exploitation of vulnerable people that occurred in this case. And we will be looking very hard at how our system of criminal justice can eliminate that incentive.”

Last October, Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. Though 39 illegal immigrants were found in the back of Bradley’s hot trailer, witnesses told police that at one point during their trip from Mexico there had been up to 200 people in the trailer.

Besides receiving a life sentence, Bradley was also required to forfeit his rig, $5,600 in cash and a .38 caliber pistol found inside his cab in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 2017.

Last month, Bradley’s co-defendant, 47–year–old Pedro Silva Segura, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death.  Those charges stem from a superseding federal grand jury indictment handed down last September.  Silva, a Mexican citizen who had been living illegally in Laredo, Texas, remains in federal custody pending sentencing scheduled for June 29.  He faces up to life in federal prison.