James Matthew Bradley Jr. has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with an immigrant smuggling operation that resulted in 10 deaths, U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr. announced Monday afternoon.
In a San Antonio federal court, Bradley pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count and a count to transport the immigrants resulting in death. He faces up to life in prison as he awaits sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 22.
By pleading guilty, he admitted that on July 23, 2017, he conspired and did transport immigrants in the United States for financial gain. Authorities say Bradley was the driver of a semitrailer, which was found in a Walmart parking lot with 39 people packed inside. The trailer's refrigeration system was broken on a day that topped 101 degrees.
Bradley, who faced the death penalty had the case gone to trial, remains in custody pending sentencing.
Bradley also agreed to forfeit to the government his tractor-trailer rig, plus approximately $5,600 in U.S. currency and a .38 caliber pistol recovered from inside the cab.