SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Adan Lara Vega is recovering in a San Antonio hospital Tuesday morning.
The 27-year-old said the last thing he remembers was being in the back of the sweltering 18-wheeler found in a San Antonio Walmart parking lot.
"And was there air?"
"No," he said.
In an interview from his hospital bed, Vega said inside the trailer there was no air and no water.
Vega said when he climbed into the truck in Laredo, Texas it was already packed with people.
Some of them were children who he later heard begging for water.
"We have one of the world's deadliest borders. We've seen in the last 20 years thousands of people die because they put themselves in these dangerous conditions," said David Shirk, associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of San Diego.
Vega paid $5,500 to be smuggled into the US from Mexico because he said he couldn't find any work in his hometown.
The driver of the truck, 60-year-old James Bradley, is facing federal charges of illegally transporting immigrants and could face the death penalty if convicted.
He made an initial court appearance on Monday, telling the judge he was delivering what he thought was a sold vehicle from Schiller, Iowa, to Brownsville, Texas, and that he didn't know what was inside, according to the complaint.
He said he was given no deadline or address to deliver the truck.
The 18-wheeler was reportedly carrying close to 100 people.
Ten of them died and dozens others were sent to the hospital in critical condition.