T “These criminal organizations view these individuals as mere commodities without regard for their safety,” Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta said in a statement last week.

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“These people were in that trailer without any signs of any type of water, so you are looking at a lot of heat stroke, lot of dehydration. I personally worked on a tragic tractor-trailer case in Victoria, Texas, in 2003 in which 19 people were killed as a result of the smugglers’ total indifference to the safety of those smuggled and to the law.

As Chief Mc Manus mentioned, we do have at least two school-aged children.” San Antonio Police Chief William Mc Manus said at a press conference that this incident is part of an ongoing fight against human trafficking near the U. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Border Patrol agents in the border city of Laredo, about 2 and a half hours away from San Antonio, have seen an increase in the use of tractor-trailers in smuggling operations recently.

First arriving units found a number of people in the back of this trailer all in varying degrees of medical distress.” More than two dozen victims were found alive, some fighting for their lives, and they were taken to seven San Antonio-area hospitals, fire officials said.

Of those victims, 17 were transported with life-threatening injuries and 13 had injuries or illness that was not immediately life-threatening.

He faces up to life in prison or the death penalty of convicted of the human smuggling charge.

“San Antonio firefighters and police responded to a horrific scene this morning on the southwest side of town. All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” said Richard Durbin, U. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, in a statement.

Here’s what you need to know: NEW: Truck driver James Bradley Jr. Arrested in connection w/ deadly human smuggling case pic.twitter.com/5Tu KHGKc10 — Marcus Moore (@Marcus Moorewfaa) July 24, 2017 “Late last night we got a call from a Walmart employee to conduct a welfare check on a tractor trailer that was parked in the lot here.

He was approached by someone from that truck who was asking for water,” San Antonio Police Chief William Mc Manus said at a press conference.

“He came back with the water, called the police, we arrived on the scene and found 8 people dead in the back of the trailer.” Police took the driver, identified by the Express-News as James Bradley, into custody at the scene, while firefighters rushed to provide aid to the victims, using a triage system. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said Bradley is claiming he didn’t know there were people inside his truck.

According to court documents, emergency responders found “people standing and laying at and around the rear of the trailer.” The truck is believed to have been opened by the driver, Bradley, or someone else, prior to police arriving, Mc Manus said, which allowed the person to seek help from the Walmart employee. “An officer encountered a tractor-trailer behind the store, finding a number of people standing and lying in the rear of the trailer, and the driver, Bradley, in the cab.

Police searched Sunday for anyone who might have fled from the truck and was in need of help in the surrounding area, but it does not appear that anyone was found.