Driver due in court after deaths of immigrants in overheated trailer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The Latest on the deaths of 10 people whose bodies were found in a roasting tractor-trailer in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas:

A federal complaint says immigrants packed into a tractor-trailer discovered outside a Texas Wal-Mart were taking turns breathing through a hole in the trailer and pounding on the walls to get the driver’s attention.

According to a complaint filed Monday, a passenger in the trailer told investigators that he and others who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally were guided into the trailer to be taken north to San Antonio.

The complaint says passengers appeared fine during the first hour of their journey, but people later began to struggle to breathe. They were trying to get the driver’s attention, but to no avail.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged James Matthew Bradley with illegally transporting the immigrants for commercial or financial gain, resulting in the deaths of 10 people inside.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:

10:30 a.m.

Federal authorities in Texas have charged the driver of a tractor-trailer with transporting immigrants in the U.S. illegally, an incident resulting in the death of 10 people.

A complaint filed Monday accuses James Matthew Bradley of driving a trailer packed with immigrants for “commercial advantage or private financial gain.” The charge carries the possibility of the death penalty.

Bradley is expected to appear Monday morning in San Antonio.

Authorities fear the death toll could rise because many of those rescued from the sweltering truck in San Antonio have been hospitalized with extreme dehydration and heatstroke.

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9:30 a.m.

Federal authorities say a 10th person has died after being discovered in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in Texas.

Prosecutors said in a statement Monday that the person died at a hospital. Nearly 20 others were hospitalized in dire condition after they were found in the truck outside a San Antonio Walmart early Sunday.

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9 a.m.

Federal prosecutors say a man arrested following the deaths of nine people in a hot tractor-trailer outside a Texas Walmart will be charged Monday.

Prosecutors say 60-year-old James Mathew Bradley Jr., of Clearwater, Florida, was taken into custody at the weekend after the bodies were discovered alongside nearly 20 more people in dire condition in the San Antonio parking lot. He will appear in federal court in San Antonio on Monday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office haven’t said Bradley was the alleged driver of the truck and prosecutors haven’t outlined the charges he will face.

Authorities fear the death toll from the grim weekend discovery could rise because many of those hospitalized were suffering from extreme dehydration and heatstroke.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus calls the deaths a “human-trafficking crime.”

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12:07 a.m.

A 60-year-old man who was arrested after authorities say at least nine people died in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer found outside a Walmart in San Antonio is due in federal court.

Federal prosecutors say James Mathew Bradley Jr. of Clearwater, Florida, will be charged on Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan says the truck driver is in custody, but the local U.S. Attorney’s Office wouldn’t say whether Bradley was the alleged driver who was arrested.

Officials say nearly 20 other people rescued from the back of the rig early Sunday were hospitalized in dire condition, many with extreme dehydration and heatstroke.

Foreign officials from Mexico and Guatemala confirmed people from those countries were found in the abandoned tractor-trailer.

Newscenter 25’s Jonah Gilmore and James Munoz are heading to the scene. Tune in to Newscenter 25 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the story.

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