Smuggler in deadly migration attempt sent to prison

posted by 1200 WOAI - 

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The man behind a deadly smuggling attempt that ended last year at a southwest side Walmart with ten people dead has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

Pedro Silva-Segura pled guilty in a plea deal that capped his sentenced.

"I'm very regretful for what happened," he told the judge.  "If it had been within my hands, I would not have allowed those people to suffer like they did."

More than 100 illegal immigrants were stuffed into the back of an 18-wheeler with no air conditioning last year.  When the driver opened the doors outside a southwest side Walmart, people came flooding into the night air.  Eight were dead.  Two more died at the hospital.

Silva-Segura, 47, ran a stash house for the cartels in Laredo.  He stuffed a handful into that big rig, but pled guilty to the conspiracy that ended in death.

And while it was known that Silva-Segura was an illegal immigrant from Mexico, during today's sentencing it was revealed that he had been previously deported 15 times.  That's according to a presentence report from a previous incident in Laredo.

That shocked longtime federal judge David Ezra.

"(He's the) poster child for President Trump," he said.  "This is not a good thing."

Defense attorney Adriana Arce-Flores says her client was not the mastermind behind the scheme.  He was merely a small cog in the bigger enterprise.

"I'm hopeful that the government will continue an investigation into this case to get the people that should be (in federal court)," she said.

She said that Silva-Segura lorded over 20 migrants in that stash house at a time.  They were well clothed and fed, and even were allowed to use the phone, she testified.

The driver of the 18-wheeler, 61-year-old James Matthew Bradley, Jr., was previously sentenced to life in prison.

Photo: Getty Images

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