Truck­ing firm tied to traf­fick­ing closed

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - NATION & WORLD -

Fed­eral safety reg­u­la­tors have shut down a trou­bled Iowa truck­ing com­pany that owned the semi­trailer in­volved in a hu­man traf­fick­ing case in which 10 im­mi­grants died in Texas.

Pyle Trans­porta­tion was placed un­der an “out-of-ser­vice or­der” Mon­day by the Fed­eral Mo­tor Car­rier Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter a re­view found the com­pany’s safety rat­ing was so un­sat­is­fac­tory that it was un­fit to re­main in busi­ness, agency spokesman Duane DeBruyne con­firmed to The Associated Press.

Dozens of im­mi­grants were found packed inside a Pyle­branded semi­trailer in July in the park­ing lot of a San An­to­nio Wal­mart. Eight peo­ple were found dead inside, and two more died af­ter be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized. The driver, James “Bear” Bradley Jr., 60, of Clear­wa­ter, Florida; and Pedro Silva-Se­gura, 47, of Laredo, Texas, are charged with sev­eral of­fenses, in­clud­ing con­spir­ing to trans­port and har­bor im­mi­grants who are il­le­gally in the U.S. for fi­nan­cial gain.

Pyle Trans­porta­tion owner Brian Pyle has de­nied knowl­edge of the al­leged smug­gling con­spir­acy. He has said that he sold the trailer and hired Bradley, who had worked pre­vi­ously for the firm, as a con­trac­tor to drive it to Brownsville, Texas, to de­liver it to the buyer.

Bradley de­nied know­ing any­one was inside the trailer, say­ing he heard their pleas only af­ter he stopped to uri­nate. But at least 39 peo­ple were packed inside, most of them Mex­i­cans who had crossed the United States’ south­ern bor­der. The trailer’s cool­ing sys­tem was bro­ken, and oc­cu­pants say they fought to breathe and tried in vain to get the trailer to stop as it headed north in 100-de­gree heat.

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