Mr. James Matthew Bradley Jr (pictured), 61 years old, is just your ordinary truck driver from Florida it seems. Close to retirement, greyish beard, no accidents and doing everything timely and according to the planning. At least that is what his supervisors thought.
Until last July that was, when Mr Bradley positioned his truck onto a Wal-Mart parking in San Antonio to find out that during that day, where temperatures had hit 100 degrees, the refrigeration system of his big rig wasn’t working and 10 of the 39 South American immigrants he was illegally smuggling into the country had died. 20 had to be rushed to hospital.
All victims were suffering from heat exposure or asphyxiation and were driven to seven hospitals in the San Antonio area. Of those twenty, seventeen people were in extremely critical or serious condition.
The US attorney for the State of Texas handling the case, Mr Richard L. Durbin claims authorities were lucky to catch Mr Bradley during an "alien smuggling venture gone horribly wrong."
He commented further that: "this is not an isolated incident. This happens quite frequently. Fortunately, we came across this one. Fortunately, there are people who survived. All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo."
According to court records, the other passengers declared during questioning that Mr Bradley had taken between 70 to 200 people in his truck over the border that week.
Mr Bradley pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges, probably getting him out of the death penalty if the case would have gone to trial.
Agent Shane Folden, responsible for Homeland Security in San Antonio, said: "Today's admission of guilt by Mr. Bradley 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."