Federal Grand Jury Charges James Matthew Bradley, Jr., With Transporting Undocumented Aliens for Financial Gain Resulting in Death
In San Antonio this afternoon, a federal grand jury indicted 60–year-old James Matthew Bradley, Jr., for his role in a smuggling operation which resulted in the deaths of ten undocumented aliens last month announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden.
The five-count indictment charges Bradley with one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in death; one count of transportation of undocumented aliens resulting in death; one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; one count of transporting undocumented aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Upon conviction of the conspiracy and transportation-resulting-in-death charges, Bradley faces up to life imprisonment or death. 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 ten 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 undocumented aliens. According to court records, the undocumented 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, who was arrested at the scene, has remained in federal custody.
Of the 39 undocumented aliens discovered, ten are deceased, two remain hospitalized, 22 are in federal custody charged as material witnesses; and, five individuals (four juveniles and one adult) have since been released from the hospital and turned over to Immigration authorities. The four juveniles are currently under the supervision of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The adult is pending administrative processing through the U.S. Immigration Court.
The U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is leading this investigation together with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), the San Antonio Police Department and the San Antonio Fire Department, with assistance from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and the U. S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorneys Christina Playton and Matthew Lathrop are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
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.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Texas