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  • San Antonio trailer deaths: What we know

    A tenth victim found inside a stifling tractor-trailer that was discovered packed with immigrants outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas during the weekend died overnight, federal prosecutors said Monday.

    The driver of the truck, 60-year-old James Matthew Bradley, Jr., has been charged with transporting illegal aliens in an alleged human smuggling case.

    Here’s what we know so far about how the incident and how it unfolded.

    What happened?

    Someone from the truck approached a Walmart employee and asked for water late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. The employee gave the person water and then called police.

    San Antonio police officers responded to the Walmart “shortly after midnight” Sunday, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) release.

    A police officer saw “a number of people standing and lying in the rear of the trailer, and the driver, Bradley, in the cab,” it said. Bradley said he didn’t know the trailer had people inside, that he “discovered them only when he exited the vehicle to relieve himself” and he tried to administer aid, according to the release.

    San Antonio police said that they "found eight deceased persons and 30-40 others, all undocumented aliens," it said.

    The temperature in the Texas city hit 101 degrees on Saturday and didn’t go below 90 degrees until after 10 p.m. The truck didn’t have working air conditioning, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said.

    What do we know about the people in the truck?

    Eight bodies were found by authorities inside the 18-wheeler, while another two people died at the hospital. The ten dead victims are adult men, San Antonio Patch reported.

    Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents spoke to some of the people who had been in the trailer, who "described how they had been smuggled across the Rio Grande River near Laredo at different times and as part of different groups," the DOJ release said, adding that the groups were gathered in the trailer Sunday.

    “To maximize their criminal profits, these human smugglers crammed more than 100 people into a tractor trailer in the stifling Texas summer heat resulting in ten dead and 29 others hospitalized,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement.

    Officials said 39 people were inside when rescuers arrived, and the rest were believed to have escaped or hitched rides to their next destination.

    Two of the seven people who arrived at University Hospital in San Antonio on Sunday have been discharged, spokesman Don Finley said. Finley said four men and one woman remain at the hospital, in conditions ranging from good to critical.

    At the San Antonio Military Medical Center on the Fort Sam Houston Army post, spokeswoman Elaine Sanchez said all five patients admitted to the hospital Sunday remain in treatment.

    None of the patients admitted to various Baptist Health System hospitals in San Antonio have been discharged, spokeswoman Patti Tanner said.

    A spokesman for Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry said one of the victims who died was 20-year-old Frank Guisseppe Fuentes Gonzales. Two other Guatemalans, ages 17 and 23, survived and were said to be in stable condition.

    Survivor Adan Lalravega, 27, said he lost consciousness while sweating profusely without water inside the pitch-black compartment without any ventilation — and awoke in a San Antonio hospital bed.

    Lalravega told The Associated Press on Monday that people cried and pleaded for water and that he heard children’s voices whimper. He said smugglers who hid him and six friends in a safe house in Laredo, Texas, claimed they’d be riding in an air-conditioned space.

    The trip from Laredo to San Antonio is about two hours. Lalravega said he and his friends got in the trailer between 10 and 11 p.m. He also said that he never saw the truck driver and was never offered water. He said they were being charged $5,500 for the trip and the money was never collected.

    Four of the migrants found alive in the tractor-trailer come from Calvillo, Mexico.

    What about the driver?

    Bradley, Jr., of Clearwater, Fla., has been charged with one count of transporting illegal aliens, according to the DOJ, which said a "federal alien smuggling charge" was filed against Bradley.

    Bradley was questioned by authorities and claimed to have been “traveling from Laredo to San Antonio, after having the tractor-trailer washed and detailed at a truck stop near Laredo,” according to the DOJ release.

    Bradley said he was taking the truck to its new owner in Brownsville, Texas, the criminal complaint said.

    Bradley claimed he heard “banging and shaking in the trailer” when he got out of the cab at the Walmart, and he told investigators “he went to open the doors and was surprised when he was run over by ‘Spanish’ people and knocked to the ground,” the complaint added.

    Bradley said he saw bodies on the floor and that he knew at least one person was dead, according to the complaint. Bradley said he contacted his wife, who didn’t pick up, but that he didn’t contact 911, the document said.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • San Antonio Spurs reportedly agree to deal with forward Joffrey Lauvergne

    The San Antonio Spurs reached agreement on a contract with free agent forward/center Joffrey Lauvergne, The Vertical reported Monday. Photo courtesy of The Vertical/Twitter

    Details of his deal with the Spurs were unavailable, but apparently the Spurs felt they needed another big man.

    LaMarcus Aldridge appeared to be on the trading block at one point, and Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee are free agents. Gasol reportedly is likely to re-sign with the Spurs, however.

    The 6-foot-11 Lauvergne, 25, is a versatile player, but he averaged just 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds while splitting the 2016-17 season between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Bulls.

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  • Tips For Traveling To San Antonio

    San Antonio is a city full of rich history and adventure. There are various things that can be done while in this city. Not only does it offer a lot of different activities and things to do, but it is actually considered one of the most affordable destinations in the entire country. In fact, U.S News and World Report ranks it as number 2 on their Best Affordable Destinations in the USA list and #12 in their Best Weekend Getaways list. Throughout this particular article, we will be discussing some of the top tips for traveling to San Antonio.

    Tips For Traveling:

    1. Plan Early.

    When you are considering traveling to just about anywhere, you will want to be sure to plan ahead. By planning ahead and early, you will not only be able to effectively save a good amount of money, but you will be able to guarantee that you are able to travel during the dates that you want to travel. This is ultimately going to make it much easier to go on your trip without having to worry about places price gouging you because you are planning too late and you likely have limited options available to you.

    2. Look At Best Times To Visit.

    When it comes to San Antonio, you will want to stick to traveling to the city when it is not overly crowded, expensive, and when the weather is considered good. The best months to visit San Antonio would have to be January through April and from November to December. It would be wise to avoid traveling from May to October because the temperatures are typically not the greatest and the prices are going to be much higher during these times.

    By following the tips above, you should be able to not only save money on your trip but have a great time as well.

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  • San Antonio Spurs: 5 reasons Derrick White was a good pick

    Simon Shortt/FanSided via Hoops Habit

    Jan 28, 2017; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard Derrick White (21) after the game against the Oregon Ducks at Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Ducks 74-65. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    The San Antonio Spurs selected Derrick White with the 29th overall pick in the NBA draft. Here are five reasons why White was a good selection for the Spurs.

    Thursday night the San Antonio Spurs added another multi-dimensional talent to their roster late in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Derrick White is a 6’5″, 190-pound guard who could play multiple positions for the Spurs in time.

    White played just the one season at Colorado after transferring, but he sure made that year count. He averaged 18.3 points, 4.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. His ability to stuff the stat sheet immediately at the Division I level bodes well for his ability to transfer his game to the NBA. He may never excel in any one aspect of the game, but has enough skill all around to make an impact.

    Only time will tell what White’s role will be with the team. With multiple free agents in the backcourt he could see minutes right away. Or we could see him playing spot minutes and making a key play or two every game, just like most Spurs rookies do.

    With that in mind, here are five reasons Derrick White was a good pick for the San Antonio Spurs.

    May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) high fives guard Patty Mills (8) after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    This summer, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons will all be free agents. This is basically the team’s second unit on the perimeter that are all free to walk away.

    While it is likely San Antonio can retain one of these players, keeping all three could be a stretch, as Ginobili could retire and Mills and Simmons will draw big money. In the event all three are not in a Spurs uniform in 2017-18, White could be a pretty important piece on next season’s team.

    Right now White is a combo guard, who has the passing and IQ to play the point, and the size and shooting to play the 2. But in the evolving NBA where positions are more often categorized as point guards, wings and bigs, White could end up playing all over the court.

    With Dejounte Murray lying in wait, White may only need to play spot minutes at point guard this year. But if Simmons and/or Ginobili decide to go in a different direction, there will be minutes to go around.

    Dec 7, 2016; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard Derrick White (21) attempts a successful three point attempt over Xavier Musketeers guard Edmond Sumner (4) in the final seconds of the second half at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Musketeers 68-66. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Today’s NBA is so reliant on role players who can shoot from deep. As mentioned previously, Ginobili and Mills are free agents this year. They were also two of the team’s best three-point shooters last season. Even if the Spurs were able to keep both players, you can never have enough shooting on your team, and that’s where White can help out.

    Last season at Colorado, White shot 40 percent from behind the arc with nearly two makes per game. There is no reason for him to not find that same success at the next level, with a quick, high release he should be able to get those shots up.

    He can also make his shots off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations. Playing out of the pick-and-roll a lot last year, White can make defenders pay for going under the screen. But his ability as a spot-up shooter will likely be more important in the Spurs’ offense, which involves ball movement creating open looks.

    Dec 7, 2016; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard Bryce Peters (23) and forward Wesley Gordon (1) and guard Thomas Akyazili (0) and guard Derrick White (21) and forward Lucas Siewert (25) celebrate the win over the Xavier Musketeers at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Musketeers 68-66. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Upside is not really a word you attribute to a 23-year-old rookie, but White is a different case. He played just the lone season at the D-I level this year after transferring. For him to step on the court for the first time and fill up the stat sheet the way he did in one year, it gives a similar feel as a successful 19-year-old freshman might.

    White’s potential is not just measured by how he can improve his game, but also what playing for the Spurs can do for him. White is not the most athletic player on the court, and he does not have superb length.

    But it was thanks to his basketball IQ that he averaged 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game in spite of that. He also was able to get to the basket for looks at the rim, despite not being the fastest or bounciest player on the court. For a player who thrives off of awareness and good basketball instincts to join the San Antonio Spurs, it’s almost just not fair.

    White is going to learn a ton playing for this team. He is also going to be put into position to score, defend well and create for others. Constantly being put in position to succeed will eventually allow White to put himself in those positions, thus making him a better player.

    Feb 23, 2017; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard Derrick White (21) reacts during the second half against the Utah Utes at the Coors Events Center. The Utes defeated the Buffaloes 86-81. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    White did not have your typical journey to the NBA. He didn’t even have a typical journey to college basketball. As a 6’0″ combo guard in high school, he had zero scholarships from Division I schools. He got a late offer from a Division II university to come play basketball on a partial scholarship. Partial.

    There are 16- and 17-year-olds out there who know they will go to a top school for free for one year then go to the NBA, and Derrick White was getting a single, partial offer for Division II.

    His humble beginnings forced White to keep working hard, and that likely won’t change now that he’s made it. These traits will be important for being a Spur, as it is known egos get checked at the door day one. If he stays true to these characteristics he should fit with the team nicely moving forward.

    Jan 28, 2017; Boulder, CO, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks (24) and guard Casey Benson (2) defend Colorado Buffaloes guard Derrick White (21) in the second half at Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Ducks 74-65. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    What White’s skills all really boil down to is that he’s versatile. He can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court. He scores at all three levels, can create offense, uses his size for rebounds and is a good defender when engaged.

    One of the most valued positions in the NBA is a two-way wing. In the position-less NBA we talk about, you want these guys situated between your point guard and big man. White is cut from this type of cloth that people are looking for. He doesn’t have quite the length or athleticism people normally think of in this role, but the skills are there.

    His offense is already there for this role. He is a good shooter who knows when to rip through and go at the basket. If he doesn’t have a shot, he can keep the ball moving or get someone a better look with his passing ability. Defensively he still has a little work to do. His 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game show he can make plays, but he will have to learn how to defend the bigger, more athletic wings players in the league.

    He’s still young, and relatively “inexperienced” with the single year at Division I. But playing with the Spurs will give him the chance to come into his own as a player. He has enough talent to make an impact right away, but in time could become a starter for a very good team.

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