Truck driver sentenced to life in prison for deaths of immigrants in sweltering trailer

James Matthew Bradley showed no emotion as a federal court judge told him he would spend his remaining years alive in prison. Cameras are not allowed in the federal courthouse. Federal prosecutors say this was a justified sentence. “As judge Ezra put it very eloquently in imposing the sentence, this was the equivalent of torture to have 39 some folks in a non-air conditioned almost air tight trailer, it was as he put it, worse than a rancher would treat livestock,” said US Attorney John Bash. In October of 2017, Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. The death penalty was taken off the table. Authorities say Bradley was paid to drive dozens of undocumented immigrants inside the tractor trailer. While 39 people were found inside, prosecutors say there may have been 70 to 80 at one point. They say this sentence is a message of the consequences others involved in this type of crime could face. “What we try and do is key on points that would dismantle or disrupt the network, the finances, the money, you remove the money from the command and control and at the end it de-incentivizes the whole operation,” said Special Agent Shane Folden with Homeland Security Investigations.

Homeland security says of the 39 people found, 15 people have been removed from the u-s. Some voluntarily and others by government order. 14 others are still awaiting their fate. Bradley will not be eligible for parole. Previous story below: A federal judge sentenced James Matthew Bradley to life in prison without parole. He is the driver involved in the deaths of 10 undocumented immigrants in a sweltering trailer last July. SAN ANTONIO — UPDATE: James Matthew Bradley showed no emotion as a federal court judge told him he would spend his remaining years alive in prison. Cameras are not allowed in the federal courthouse. Federal prosecutors say this was a justified sentence. “As judge Ezra put it very eloquently in imposing the sentence, this was the equivalent of torture to have 39 some folks in a non-air conditioned almost air tight trailer, it was as he put it, worse than a rancher would treat livestock,” said US Attorney John Bash. In October of 2017, Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. The death penalty was taken off the table. Authorities say Bradley was paid to drive dozens of undocumented immigrants inside the tractor trailer. While 39 people were found inside, prosecutors say there may have been 70 to 80 at one point. They say this sentence is a message of the consequences others involved in this type of crime could face. “What we try and do is key on points that would dismantle or disrupt the network, the finances, the money, you remove the money from the command and control and at the end it de-incentivizes the whole operation,” said Special Agent Shane Folden with Homeland Security Investigations. Homeland security says of the 39 people found, 15 people have been removed from the u-s. Some voluntarily and others by government order. 14 others are still awaiting their fate. Bradley will not be eligible for parole. Previous story below: A federal judge sentenced James Matthew Bradley to life in prison without parole.

BREAKING NEWS: James Matthew Bradley sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is the driver involved in the deaths of 10 undocumented immigrants in a sweltering trailer last July.

BREAKING NEWS: James Matthew Bradley sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is the driver involved in the deaths of 10 undocumented immigrants in a sweltering trailer last July. https://bit.ly/2HT2CLT

Posted by News 4 San Antonio on Friday, April 20, 2018

He is the driver involved in the deaths of 10 undocumented immigrants in a sweltering trailer last July. Judge David A. Ezra also ordered that Bradley forfeit to the Government his tractor-trailer rig, plus approximately $5,600 in U.S. currency and a .38 caliber pistol recovered from inside the cab. “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. I want to thank the fabulous Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted this case, Christina Playton and Matthew Lathrop, as well as our partners with ICE, HSI, CBP, the San Antonio Police and Fire Departments and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office for helping us achieve justice. This tragic case is yet another reminder that Congress must end the incentives that encourage illegal immigration and alien smuggling in the first place.” After sentencing United States Attorney John F. Bash said, “I am gratified that the court imposed an appropriate punishment for this horrific crime. Through this prosecution, we have sent two unmistakable messages: first, that alien smuggling is a dangerous offense with real victims; and second, that DOJ will seek justice for all victims of crime, no matter their legal status.”

“But 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.” The 61-year-old driver accused in the deaths of ten undocumented immigrants found in the back of a sweltering trailer parked near a Walmart store last summer will be sentenced on Friday. James Matthew Bradley will appear before a federal judge in a San Antonio courtroom to learn if he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty to federal smuggling charges in October. It was in July of 2017 that officers were called to a Walmart store on the South Side to check out a report of undocumented immigrants jumping out of a parked trailer. When crews arrived, they found ten people had died; more than 30 were injured and needed medical care. Court papers later revealed that Bradley initially claimed he did not know there were people inside the trailer and said he was trying to help them once he realized they were inside. He also told investigators he called his wife, and not 911, when he found the injured people. Some of the victims inside the trailer said they took turns breathing from a hole in the wall of the trailer and that others began hitting the trailer walls to get the driver’s attention as people began falling ill. Many said they paid thousands of dollars for passage into the United States.