SAN ANTONIO — The driver of a semitrailer that was transporting people into the U.S. through Texas in an alleged human smuggling operation has pleaded not guilty to federal charges against him.
James Matthew Bradley Jr. was indicted Wednesday on five charges, including conspiracy to transport immigrants illegally for financial gain resulting in death and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He entered a not guilty plea Thursday.
San Antonio officers found the semitrailer containing almost 40 people in July. Its refrigeration system wasn’t working, and investigators say passengers had difficulty breathing as temperatures climbed to dangerous levels.
The alleged smuggling operation resulted in at least 10 deaths. Twenty-two survivors are in custody as potential witnesses. Two people remain in the hospital. Five others have been turned over to immigration authorities.