Driver of deadly immigrant smuggling run pleads guilty

James Mathew Bradley Jr.
FILE- In this July 24, 2017, file photo, James Matthew Bradley Jr., left, arrives at the federal courthouse for a hearing in San Antonio. Bradley, the driver of a semitrailer packed with almost three dozen immigrants, pleaded guilty on Monday, Oc. 16, to making the deadly smuggling run. He faces up to life imprisonment. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The driver of a semitrailer packed with at least 39 immigrants, 10 of whom died, has pleaded guilty to making the deadly smuggling run.

James Matthew Bradley Jr. pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in San Antonio to one conspiracy count and a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death. He faces up to life imprisonment when he’s sentenced on Jan. 22.

Bradley could have faced the death penalty had he gone to trial.

Authorities say at least 39 immigrants were packed into the sweltering trailer found by San Antonio police last July in a Walmart parking lot. Its refrigeration system wasn’t working, and investigators say passengers had difficulty breathing as temperatures climbed.

Temperatures in San Antonio topped at 101 degrees that day.