BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Four U.S. Army soldiers previously stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, have been convicted for their roles in smuggling illegal immigrants past U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints north of the Texas border with Mexico.
The most recent conviction took place Wednesday morning in this border city when 25-year-old Yashira Marie Perez-Morales went before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, where she pleaded guilty to the charge of human smuggling, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.
Three other soldiers were convicted along with another man (45-year-old Arnoldo Gracia) from the border city of Harlingen for their role in the human smuggling scheme. The now-convicted soldiers are 20-year-old Eric Alexander Rodriguez, 20-year-old Brandon Troy Robbins, and 21-year-old Christopher David Wix.
Breitbart Texas reported the group’s initial arrests by federal agents. Information that has since become available points to the soldiers running a successful smuggling operation from Spring 2014 until Fall 2014 when the first arrests began to take place.
The soldiers were able to get past the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Sarita, which is about 80 miles from the border, by hiding the immigrants under their military gear as they drove past the inspection area.
On April 13, June 21 and September 2014, authorities discovered the illegal immigrants hiding in the vehicles driven by Robbins, Wix, and Rodriguez respectively. Following the arrests agents with Homeland Security Investigations began to dig deeper into the smuggling operation and identified Gracia and Perez Morales.
U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle has already sentenced Wix to a year in prison and two years of probation, while the rest of the group is expected to go before Hanen later this year.