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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
09/20/2017

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South Texas federal grand jury returns superseding indictment against tractor trailer driver following death of 10 smuggled aliens; government is not seeking death penalty

SAN ANTONIO — A South Texas federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a superseding indictment in the case against the tractor trailer driver that was allegedly responsible for the deaths of 10 illegal aliens on July 23.

This superseding indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr., Western District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden with U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio.

On Sept. 20, U.S. Attorney Durbin also announced a filing serving notice to the court that the Government will not seek the death penalty against Bradley.

The seven-count superseding indictment charges Bradley and Pedro Silva-Segura, 47, an illegal alien residing in Laredo, Texas, with the following crimes:

  • one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain resulting in death;
  • one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and,
  • two counts of transporting illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy.

The superseding indictment also charges Bradley alone with the following three counts:

  • transporting illegal aliens resulting in death;
  • transporting illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and,
  • possessing a firearm by a convicted felon.

Upon conviction of the conspiracy and transportation-resulting-in-death charges, Bradley faces up to life imprisonment. Upon conviction of the conspiracy and transportation-resulting-in-serious-bodily-injury charges, Bradley faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Upon conviction of the felon-in-possession charge, Bradley faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

According to court documents, San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officers responded to a call at the Wal-Mart store located at 8538 Interstate 35 in San Antonio shortly after midnight on Sunday, July 23. An officer encountered a tractor-trailer behind the store, finding a number of people standing and lying in the rear of the trailer, and the driver, Bradley, in the cab. At the scene, law enforcement officers discovered 39 illegal aliens. According to court records, the illegal aliens estimated the trailer contained between 70 and 180 to 200 people during transport. They also described differing fees for being transported. Authorities also recovered a .38-caliber pistol from inside the cab of the tractor-trailer.

Bradley remains in federal custody. Silva, who was arrested in Laredo on an unrelated charge, is in custody and awaiting transfer to San Antonio for his yet-to-be scheduled initial appearance in federal court.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina Playton and Matthew Lathrop, Western District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/25/2017