Federal grand jury charges human smuggling suspect James Bradley in 5-count indictment

Undocumented immigrants who died in trailer named

By Ivan Herrera - Web Producer

SAN ANTONIO - A federal grand jury has indicted the man accused of transporting dozens of undocumented immigrants in a big rig smuggling operation, which led to the deaths of 10 immigrants last month, on additional charges.

The five-count indictment charges James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60, 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
  • One count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

Bradley faces up to life in prison or death if convicted of the conspiracy and transportation-resulting-in-death charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy and transportation-resulting-in-serious-bodily-injury charges. And upon conviction of the felon-in-possession charge, Bradley faces up to 10 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Bradley was arrested after officers discovered 39 undocumented immigrants July 23 in the trailer Bradley had parked at a Southwest Side Walmart in the 8500 block of Interstate 35.

Court records said, the trailer contained about 70-200 people during transport.

Police recovered a .38 caliber pistol from inside the cab of the big rig. Bradley has remained in federal custody since being arrested at the scene.

Of the 39 people found, 10 died, two are still in the hospital, 22 are in federal custody and are charged as material witnesses and five — four juveniles and one adult — have since been released from the hospital and were turned over to immigration officials, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the juveniles are under the supervision of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the released adult is undergoing administrative processing through immigration court.

The names of those who died as a result of the smuggling operation are as follows:

  • Ruben Hernandez-Vargas, 27, of Mexico, died July 23

  • Osbaldo Rodriguez-Cerda, 21, of Mexico, died July 23, 

  • Frank Fuentes-Gonzalez, 18, of Guatemala, died July 23

  • Jorge Reyes-Noveron, 26, of Mexico, died July 23

  • Mariano Lopez-Cano, age unknown, of Mexico, died July 23 (Died after being taken to the hospital)

  • Jose Rodriguez-Aspeitia, 36, of Mexico, died July 23

  • Benjamin Martinez-Arredondo, 37, of Mexico, died July 23

  • Ricardo Martinez-Esparza, 24, of Mexico, died July 24 (Died after being taken to the hospital)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the identities of the other two people who died are not being released. One of them is a juvenile who has been identified. The other is an adult who has not yet been identified.

Future court dates for Bradley will be released at a later time, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it is waiting for a schedule to be released by the U.S. District Court.

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