Investigators Question Route, Border Checkpoint, In Deadly Human Smuggling Case

As investigators try to learn more about the circumstances that led up to the tragic deaths of 10 immigrants in a sweltering truck in Texas last week, questions about the driver’s route have arisen.

Sixty year old James Matthew Bradley Jr. is facing life in prison or even the death penalty for this role in the deaths of 10 immigrants who perished from dehydration and heat related illness. Bradley says that he had no idea that there were humans in his trailer and that he only realized they were there when he heard banging and yelling when he stopped at a San Antonio Walmart to relieve himself.

Truck Driver’s Choice Of Route Called Into Question

As federal authorities work to learn more about the deadly incident, the route that Bradley used has been called into question.

A statement released by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement outlines Bradley’s stated route: “Bradley said he was transporting the trailer from Schaller, Iowa, to Brownsville, Texas … During questioning, Bradley said he was traveling from Laredo to San Antonio, after having the tractor trailer washed and detailed at a truck stop near Laredo. He intended to take the trailer to Brownsville to deliver it to someone who had purchased it.

Bradley’s boss, Brian Pyle of Pyle Transportation has spoken publicly about the unusual route: “You don’t need to go through Laredo to go to Brownsville. You definitely don’t need to head back to San Antonio.”

A report from KRGV suggests that the route Bradley said he took would have taken him nearly 320 miles out of his way as compared to a more direct route.

The route choice is also complicated by the fact that Texas’ U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar has stated that Bradley’s truck successfully made it through an I-35 Border Patrol checkpoint near Laredo just two hours before the bodies of the dead were found in the trailer by authorities.

Joel Martinez, the acting chief for the Laredo Border Patrol checkpoint, refused to confirm that Bradley’s truck passed through.

Two of the survivors told investigators that they were loaded into the trailer in Laredo.