An illegal alien among the survivors found in Texas in an unairconditioned trailer told authorities he paid people connected to Los Zetas Cartel to be smuggled into the U.S. Ten with him died during the journey.
Law enforcement officers initially found eight dead illegal immigrants early Sunday in and around a tractor trailer parked in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, as reported by Breitbart Texas. Officials said that approximately 20 were in “extremely critical” or “very serious” condition after being in a trailer with no air conditioning, very little to no ventilation, and no water. Temperatures rose to 104 degrees outside while estimated temperatures inside the trailer were about 130 degrees. There were juvenile children among the 38 illegal aliens found. Two more later died.
Authorities were alerted to the situation when one of the men who left the trailer asked a Walmart employee for some water, and the employee called the police.
Breitbart Texas reported on Monday that court records revealed that one of the survivors told investigators that people close to Los Zetas helped some of the illegal aliens cross the Rio Grande River. The criminal complaint states that the investigator said: “He was told by the smuggler that people linked to the Zetas would charge 11,000 Mexican pesos for protection and 1,500 Mexican pesos to cross by raft since the river ran deep in that area.”
“The money was collected and his group crossed the river by raft in three trips.” $12,500 pesos is equal to approximately $706 USD. Once he reached San Antonio, he agreed to pay smugglers $5,500 USD.
He said once they crossed the river, they walked until the next day. A silver Chevrolet Silverado truck picked up his group in the morning and took them to the tractor trailer where there were already 70 people inside. The smugglers closed the door without giving them any water. It was pitch black and already hot inside.
People banged on the walls of the trailer but no one ever opened the doors. They took turns breathing from an air hole in the trailer wall. People started passing out after an hour in the vehicle.
Prosecutors charged a Florida truck driver, 60-year-old James Matthew Bradley, Jr., with one count of alleged transporting illegal aliens resulting in death. The driver could face the death penalty if convicted.
There were approximately 70-200 illegal aliens put into the trailer on Saturday morning. Black SUV vehicles were seen at the Walmart parking lot picking up people from the trailer early on Sunday.
The driver told authorities that he did not know the illegal immigrants were being transported. He pulled into the parking lot to go to the restroom and heard noise coming from the trailer. Bradley said he was surprised when he saw “‘Spanish’ people” in the back of the trailer. He knew the refrigeration system did not work and that the four vent holes were probably clogged up.
Bradley faces the death penalty or a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under the 2015 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.