The second of two defendants pleaded guilty Thursday to “conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens resulting in death” after 10 of those immigrants died in a sweltering tractor trailer last summer while making the journey into the United States.
Pedro Silva Segura, 47, faces up to life in prison for his role in this crime, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.
By pleading guilty, Silva admitted to operating a house in Laredo that served as a holding area for unauthorized immigrants awaiting transportation to final destinations in the United States, federal officials said.
Immigrants left the house on the night of July 22, 2017, in a San Antonio-bound truck that 61-year-old James Matthew Bradley Jr. was driving, federal officials said.
San Antonio police found them at a Walmart just after midnight, officials said.
An officer found a tractor-trailer behind the store and a number of people standing and lying in the back of the vehicle, officials said. Bradley was in the cab of the vehicle.
Police discovered 39 unauthorized immigrants — four of them unaccompanied teenagers ages 14 to 17 — but those in the trailer estimated there had been up to 200 people inside during the transport at one point, federal officials said.
Of those 39, eight died in the trailer and two others later died after being hospitalized, officials said.
Some of the immigrants told investigators that they had paid thousands of dollars to enter the country this way.
The immigrants described differing fees for being transported, federal officials said.
Bradley pleaded guilty last fall to one count of conspiracy to transport immigrants resulting in death and one count of transporting immigrants resulting in death. He is also facing up to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
Silva’s sentencing is scheduled for June 29.