More than 100 people packed into a refrigerated trailer with no refrigeration in order to cross the border illegally. As of today, ten of them have died and police say some of the others will have permanent brain damage. From the Washington Post:
Police found at least 39 people in the tractor-trailer, which was parked Sunday in a Walmart parking lot here. Eight men were dead. Two others died later at a hospital, the authorities said.
“To maximize their criminal profits, these human smugglers crammed more than 100 people into a tractor trailer in the stifling Texas summer heat resulting in ten dead and 29 others hospitalized,” Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said in a statement Monday morning. “Human smugglers have repeatedly demonstrated that they have absolutely no regard for human life.”
The situation was discovered when one of the survivors wandered into a San Antonio WalMart and begged an employee for some water. The employee called police. CNN reports the driver of the truck, identified as James Matthew Bradley, is claiming he had no idea he was hauling people:
It wasn’t until Bradley parked his tractor-trailer and went outside to urinate that he heard movements in the trailer, the driver told investigators.
“Bradley said he went to open the doors and was surprised when he was run over by ‘Spanish’ people and knocked to the ground,” the complaint states.
But one survivor told authorities Bradley’s truck was part of a complex trip across the border that involved a boat, a pickup truck, two different trailers and, for some, a bunch of black SUVs:
One said he left the central Mexican city of Aguascalientes and waited with about 28 other people in Nuevo Laredo to be smuggled across the river into the United States…
At 9 a.m the next day, his group was picked up in a silver Chevrolet Silverado truck and taken to the trailer, which already had about 70 people inside, the criminal complaint says…
When the trailer eventually braked hard and stopped, some people fell over because they were so weak, the man said. After the door opened, six black SUVs were waiting to pick up the people, but those SUVs quickly filled up and took off.
After he supposedly discovered 100 people and several dead bodies in the back of his truck, Bradley didn’t call the police. Instead, he called his wife. Bradley could face the death penalty if found guilty.