Human smuggling update

10 dead, 30 hospitalized

A tenth person has died after a horrific case of human smuggling in San Antonio, where up to 100 people were found inside a tractor trailer.  Today, the man authorities say was driving that truck appeared in Federal Court.  

Immigration agents say as many as 100 undocumented immigrants were crammed into a sweltering tractor trailer, the air conditioning not working, parked outside a San Antonio Wal-Mart.  Dozens suffered from the intense, triple digit heat.

The immigrants reportedly were from Mexico and Central America.  So far, ten people have died.  Officials say 30 people, including two children, were rushed to the hospital, some suffering from traumatic brain injuries from heat stroke and dehydration.

Ray Saldana, San Antonio City Councilman, tells us, "folks were literally baking in the heat of [the] Texas sun."

Today the driver, 60 year old James Bradley of Florida, was in Federal Court.  His criminal complaint detailing the treacherous journey that left 10 people dead.  One person on board told investigators that there was a hole in the trailer wall to provide ventilation and they "took turns breathing from the hole".  People were hitting the "trailer walls and making noise to get the driver's attention," but Federal Investigators say the driver never stopped.

The driver told authorities he did not know anyone was in the trailer until he got out of the truck at Wal-Mart.  He said that he opened up the trailer after hearing banging from inside.  He did not call 911, even after he found that at least one passenger was dead.

A Wal-Mart employee called 911 when he spotted a disoriented man who was desperate for water.

"Those people were in that trailer without any signs of water," says Charles Hood, San Antonio Fire Department, "so, you're looking at a lot of heat stroke; a lot of dehydration."

The complaint says they paid thousands to get to San Antonio and other destinations.  One saying he paid "$5,500 to cross into Laredo and be smuggled".  

The suspected smuggler, James Bradley, could face life in prison or the death penalty.  

Overnight, vigils in San Antonio to remember the victims of one of the worst cases of human trafficking in texas. Investigators say surveillance cameras in this parking lot show people jumping out of that truck into waiting cars, some running into the woods.  

Immigration agents are now searching for anyone else connected to this operation.

 

 

 

Danya Bacchus, ABC News

 

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