A federal court sentenced two soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, to prison following an incident where they conspired to smuggle migrants from the border region into the U.S. interior. The two soldiers received sentences of 24 and 30 months after pleading guilty in January.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced Isaiah Gore, 21, and Denerio Williams, 22, to 30 months and 23 months in federal prison respectively. The two active-duty soldiers pleaded guilty in January to their role in a human smuggling scheme that came to light in June 2021, The Laredo Morning Times reported.

In June 2021, Border Patrol assigned to an interior checkpoint near Hebbronville, Texas, arrested 20-year-old Emmanuel Oppongagyare (Pennsylvania National Guard) and 18-year-old Ralph Gregory Saint-Joie (regular Army) for attempting to smuggle to migrants into the U.S. interior, Breitbart Texas reported. Both active-duty Fort Hood soldiers wore their uniforms during the smuggling attempt.

Oppongagyare and Saint-Joie pleaded guilty to the smuggling charges and are awaiting sentencing, the local newspaper reported. Oppongagyare told the court that Gore recruited them to pickup the migrants in McAllen and transport them to San Antonio.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for theSouthern District of Texas said the judge noted, “everyone involved in the scheme knew that wearing a uniform would assist in evading detection or arrest.”

“A joint investigation later confirmed Oppongagyare, Saint-Joie, Williams and Palmer each served a role in the conspiracy as drivers who would travel to locations in Texas to transport the (migrants) in exchange for money. Authorities further confirmed that Gore actively recruited people to pick up undocumented (migrants),” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

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