US: man who packed trailer with immigrants pleads guilty to deadly smuggling run

San Antonia, Texas, USA: The driver of a semi-trailer with at least 39 immigrants, 10 of whom died, pleaded guilty Monday to making the deadly smuggling run, Dallas News reports

James Matthew Bradley Jr, 61, pleaded Monday in federal court in San Antonio to one conspiracy count and a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death. He faces up to life imprisonment when he’s sentenced on 22 January.

The Clearwater, Florida, man could have faced the death penalty had he gone to trial.

Authorities say at least 39 immigrants, most of them Mexicans, were packed into the sweltering trailer found by San Antonio police last July in a Walmart parking lot, although court records show that surviving immigrants estimated that between 70 and 200 people were carried in the trailer during the transport.

The truck’s refrigeration system was not working, and investigators say passengers had difficulty breathing as temperatures climbed. Temperatures in San Antonio topped 38 degrees C (101 degrees F) that day.

A co-defendant, Pedro Silva Segura, 47, still faces two conspiracy counts, including one of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented immigrants for financial gain resulting in death.