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The man accused of smuggling 39 illegal aliens in the back of a tractor-trailer, which resulted in the death of 10 illegals, now faces the death penalty after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Antonio Wednesday afternoon.

James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60 of Clearwater, Fla, was indicted on five charges. The charges include conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in death, transportation of undocumented aliens resulting in death, conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy, transporting undocumented aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Fox News reports that Bradley faces the death penalty or up to life in prison if he’s convicted on the transportation resulting in death charges. He faces 20 years for the serious bodily injury charge and 10 for the felon in possession of a weapon charge.

As America’s Freedom Fighters reported, ten people were discovered dead Sunday morning inside a sweltering 18-wheeler parked outside of a San Antonio Walmart in what authorities are calling a horrific human trafficking case.

A total of 38 people had been inside the tractor-trailer, including two school-age children, authorities said. Twenty people were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, and another eight had “less critical” injuries.

A store employee first alerted police after being approached by someone from the truck who was asking for water. The vehicle did not have a working air conditioning system when it was found, authorities said.

“They were very hot to the touch. So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said in a news conference. “It was a mass casualty situation for us.”

According to court documents, one of the officers found the trailer with Bradley in the cab, and a number of people in the back of the trailer.

22 illegals are in federal custody and charged as material witnesses. Five of the immigrants, including four juveniles, have been released and turned over to immigration authorities. The juveniles are being watched over by Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Immigrants who were held in the cab estimated there were as many as 200 people in the trailer during the transport, according to court records. They said they paid differing fees for being smuggled.

Bradley claimed he didn’t know the immigrants were in the trailer and only found out “when he exited the vehicle to relieve himself”, and then tried to help them.

As Fox News reported in July, Bradley told investigators he heard banging and shaking in the trailer and was surprised “when he was run over by ‘Spanish’ people and knocked to the ground”, according to a criminal complaint.

Bradley has remained in federal custody since he was arrested at the scene.

“All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” Durbin said, adding that the Justice Department will be working with Homeland Security and local responders in the investigation.

Other cases of human trafficking in the United States have led to more deaths. In May 2003, 19 immigrants who were being transported from South Texas to Houston inside a sweltering tractor-trailer died.


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