Agent: Deaths tied to smug­gling ring

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

SAN AN­TO­NIO — In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve that a truck driver charged in the deaths of 10 peo­ple who had been crammed in­side a trac­tor-trailer is a mem­ber of a larger hu­man-smug­gling or­ga­ni­za­tion, a U.S. im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

Some of the 29 iden­ti­fied sur­vivors have told au­thor­i­ties that they hired smug­glers who trans­ported them across the U.S. bor­der, loaded some of them onto trucks that took them to the trac­tor-trailer, and marked them with dif­fer­ent col­ored tape to iden­tify them to var­i­ous smug­glers who would pick them up af­ter the trac­tor-trailer reached its des­ti­na­tion.

“We’re cer­tainly not stop­ping at look­ing at the driver,” said Shane Folden, spe­cial agent in charge of U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment’s Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions of­fice in San An­to­nio.

The driver, James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clear­wa­ter, Fla., faces charges of il­le­gally trans­port­ing im­mi­grants for fi­nan­cial gain, re­sult­ing in death. Au­thor­i­ties said he drove a trailer full of mi­grants from south Texas be­fore it was dis­cov­ered early Sun­day in the park­ing lot of a San An­to­nio Wal-Mart.

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